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Henry VII 




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WnQ0 anP Ctueeng of (gnglanP 

EDITED BY 

ROBERT S. RAIT M.A. and WILLIAM PAGE F.S.A. 



HENRY VII 




Bntery Walker, Photo 

KING HENRY VII 

1457—1509 

From the Picture in the National Portrait Gallery, painted^in 1505 by an unknown 

Flemish'Jartist 



HENRY VII 



BY 

GLADYS TEMPERLEY 

FELLOW OW NEWNHAM COLLBOE, CAMB^IDOB 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY 
JAMES T. BHOTWELL 



ILLUSTRATED 




BOSTON AND NEW YORK 

HOUGHTON MIFFLIN COMPANY 

^U mHatx^ibt J^ttg^ Camliri&ge 

1914 



CONTENTS 

CHAP. PASE 

I. EARLY LIFE OF HENRY VII. ... 1 

II. ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION OF HENRY 
VII. — SETTLEMENT IN THE KINGDOM, 

1485-1487 23 

III. FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 1485-1492 . , . 70 

IV. PERKIN WARBECK, 1491-1497 . . . 112 
V. COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY . . 161 

VI. FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 1497-1503 : MARRIAGE 

ALLIANCES 196 

VII. LEGISLATION AND FINANCE — THE FOUNDA- 
TION OF THE TUDOR DESPOTISM . , 240 
VIII. IRELAND — THE RENAISSANCE — ^VOYAGES OF 

DISCOVERY ... . . 289 

tX. LAST YEARS, 1503-1509 .... 325 

-~ X. PERSONAL : IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN . 374 

APPENDICES 

I. ITINERARY OF HENRY VII 411 

II. THE STORY OF PERKIN WARBECK . . 420 



vi CONTENTS 

APPENDICES (continued) — 

PAGE 

III. THE STAR CHAMBER ..... 423 

IV. HENRY VII. AND JUANA OF CASTILE . . 426 
V. BIBLIOGRAPHY 431 

INDEX . . 437 



ILLUSTRATIONS 



PORTRAIT OF KING HENRY VII. . frontispiece 

{From the National Portrait Gallery) 



PLAN OF THE BATTLE OF BOSWORTH 

FIELD facing 20 

PORTRAIT OF ELIZABETH OF YORK, QUEEN 

CONSORT OF HENRY VII. . . . ,,52 

(From the National Portrait Gallery) 

PORTRAIT OF MARGARET OF YORK . . ,,60 

(Prom the Soeiety of Antiquaries) 

PORTRAIT OF PERKIN WARBECK . . „ 112 

(Prom the National Portrait Gallery) 

PORTRAIT OF KING HENRY VII. . . ,, 162 

(Prom the Soeiety of Antiqitaries) 

COINAGE OF HENRY VII „ 190 

EFFIGY OF ELIZABETH OF YORK . . ,, 236 

[In Westminster Abbey) 

PORTRAIT OF RICHARD FOX, BISHOP OF 

WINCHESTER „ 248 

(From the National Portrait Gallery) 



viii ILLUSTRATIONS 

PASB 
GREAT SEAL OF HENRY VII. . . . facing 270 

EFFIGY OF KING HENRY VII. . . . „ 372 

\^In Westminster Abbey) 

PORTRAIT OF MARGARET BEAUFORT, COUN- 
TESS OF RICHMOND AND DERBY . . ,, 388 
{From, the National Portrait Gallery) 



INTRODUCTION! 

A HiSTOBT of England through the biographies of her kings natu- 
rally suggests something vastly different from the contents of these 
volumes. It brings up visions of the pageantry of courts and the 
pomp and circumstance of royalty. It recalls those well-worn clas- 
sics of an earlier generation which fed our youth with the romance 
of the unreal part of reality. But there is little here of Miss Strick- 
land or the mere gossip of courtly circles. There is romance still, but 
its charm is of another kind, the charm of discovery mainly; for the 
theme of these biographies is royalty at work rather than on dis- 
play. This is a side of kingly life which seldom is mentioned in the 
courtly chronicle, and when told from the outside is too likely to 
come from unsympathetic hands, so that the monarch generally 
stands out in our histories as either a do-nothing king leading a life 
of vast self-indulgence, or as a meddler with a bent toward tyranny . 
Both pictures are false, as are all general categories in the portrayal 
of life, but of the two the former is most misleading. Kings have 
been more than masters of idleness. Few careers have been more 
strenuous than theirs. One can pick out the idle kings throughout 
the centuries; they are notorious in any monarchy. Whenever the 
king is weak the fact is attested before the whole world, either by 
the rise of a great vizier, a Richelieu or a Walpole, or by the vicious 
intrigues of the courtesan and the anarchy of state and government. 
A king is born to his title; but he must work to make the title real. 
The court of Louis XIV was the model to Europe for the display of 
idleness, and yet the king worked secretly, behind the scenes, like 
any impressario, rising early, so it was said, for the transaction of 
pressing business of state with his ministers, and then retiring for 
the formal ceremony of a royal kvSe, so that he might pass the day 
with the becoming semblance of a roi fainiant. The palace of his 
more magnificent successor Napoleon was merely a workshop fur- 
nished with imperial elegance. Of course he, as an adventurer, had 
1 Copyright, 1914, by Houghton Mifflin Company. 



X INTRODUCTION 

to work for his living; but the cost of power has always been its 
constant exercise, and no legitimist who lays it by can rely upon the 
deeds of his ancestors to secure recognition for himself in the page of 
history. 

The story of the kings at work is novel. The result is a new ap- 
preciation both of the kings and of the institution of royalty. Take 
for instance Henry VII. What a colorless figure he used to be in 
the older histories! His victory over the shrewd Richard III was a 
foregone conclusion to those who knew of Gloucester only through 
the plays of Shakespeare or the haunting juvenile stories of the 
princes murdered in the tower. His marriage with the Yorkist 
princess placed the crown easily within his reach, and once the king- 
dom was his, he developed a most unlovely character, jealous of his 
wife and miserly in money matters. His reign was presented as one 
of practical stagnation, like a quiet interval before the stir and 
movement of Henry VIII. Such was the view of Henry VII so long 
as royalty was judged by the superficial standards of the courtly or 
constitutional historian. A king who suppressed retainers and led 
the sober life of a hard-headed practical man, cut a poor figure, con- 
sidering his achievements, in the story of England. More recently, 
however, historical research has gone beneath the surface and re- 
vealed the strong, if sober, character of the first of the Tudors. The 
unlovely elements are still there, but we realize now that the miserly 
hoarding was directed towards statesman-like ends, in accordance 
with the ideas of his time; that the transformation of England under 
his reign was one of the most vital changes in its whole history, and 
that the strong hand of the monarch kept the nation on the lines 
of a national policy which made possible the great age of Elizabeth. 
In short, historians are coming to recognize in this stern, unsympa- 
thetic and apparently timidly conservative king a telling force in 
the creation of modern England. 

But, it will be objected, this is a false "interpretation" of history. 
An attempt to read the story of a nation's evolution through the 
biographies of its kings, is something we have long since given up. 
It belongs to the days of Carlyle's hero worship, and, farther back, 
to the philosophy of a Bossuet and the foolish talk of a James I on 
the divine kingship. This biographical survey is a strange ent6r- 



INTRODUCTION xi 

prise in an era of democracy when history is written in terms of 
"the sovereign people," and the world of business arranges the fate 
of nations on an impersonal basis. Royalty seems to us a shadow or 
an ornament in a world where shadows and ornaments count for 
little. The occupant of a throne seems to us — in theory — almost 
a grotesque character, and in our happy confidence in the efficiency 
of republican institutions, those of us who have not married into 
the European nobility or have not been presented at court, are 
properly scornful of such an outworn symbol of tyranny as kings or 
queens. And as our histories always tend to reflect our major inter- 
ests, we have been remaking the story of an undemocratic past to 
correspond with our outlook into the present. In the latter half of 
the nineteenth century when the mass of the nation was winning the 
victory for constitutional government, Stubbs supplied the story of 
that framework of courts and ^parliament which was the nation's 
heritage, and Freeman and Green traced the human story of the 
nation itself. In the opening of the twentieth century the new 
democracy has come to that self-consciousness which the middle 
class achieved a century or so before, and now it is looking back to 
the history of village laborers, of peasant insurrections, enclosures 
of common lands, and all the homely and intimate detail of daily 
life. The movement, just setting in, is of vast significance and mag- 
nificent possibilities. No one to whom the word "history" has 
any real meaning, whose imagination stirs at its suggestions of tales 
yet untold as well as at its achievements in its joint field of art and 
science, can fail to extend a welcome to the new histories of democ- 
racy, and the exploration of the economics and industries of the 
past. But it is easy, in our enthusiastic approval of the new arrivals, 
to lose our own perspective, and to imagine that the obscure paths 
of social movement which they trace in distant centuries were the 
only roads that lead to modern times. In short, the Zeitgeist is 
upon us; the spirit of our time distorts the view of any other. 

There is something, after all, in heroes. Carlyle's gospel, preached 
to unheeding ears, had more truth in it than we like to admit. The 
strong man, or the man who holds the post of power, is more than a 
single unit in the great multiples of society. This is still the case in 
our democracies; we know it and are glad to recognize it to the full 



xii INTRODUCTION 

in the laudation of our candidates for public office as well as in our 
laws to curb the activity of unscrupulous "captains of industry." 
Half the problems of democracy are due to the need of vigilance 
against the possible agression of those "in power." It was in this 
connection that Mr. Bryce, in an address delivered at Washington a 
few years ago, uttered a significant warning to political theorists.* 
Speaking from the full experience of a long life in public aflfairs, he 
said that he had never known a country that was not really governed 
by a little group of some half-dozen men, adding, though in guarded 
phrase, that few people even in a democracy, had any idea of how 
completely this small group of men were dominating the country. 

If such is the case in a democracy and in a country of general 
enlightenment, how much more has it been true of all the past. The 
pomp of royalty is not something merely extraneous to society, but 
the outward sign of its most definite and lasting seat of power. One 
does not need to go back to anthropology, and follow the rich fields 
of scholarship opened up by Dr. Frazer,' as he traces the kingship 
back to its priestly and then its divine prototypes, in order to realize 
the dominant r61e of royalty in the past. For the king has been war- 
rior as well as priest, and has laid the basis for the national state by 
conquest and the rule of the sword. So, the Conqueror re-made 
England, and the Capetians welded together France. It would be 
an absurd distortion of history which would eliminate these master 
forces from its processes because their power is now transferred to 
other hands. A historj' of the past with the kings suppressed would 
be not less false and more grotesque than one in which the kings 
alone receive the credit for the joint work of king and people. His- 
tory must be written historically and not as a pamphlet to justify 
the present by the past. 

We are accustomed to think of the King of England as being 
shorn of all authority. And recent events in the English Parliament 
tend to impress this view still more upon us. But in the theoretical 

The preBidential address of the American Association for Political Sci- 
ence, Christmas, 1908. This remark was not printed in the text of the speech 
as printed in the Proceedings. 

2 Cf . Lectures on the Early History of the Kinship, and much of The Oolden 
Bough. 



INTRODUCTION xiii 

powers which are his still, one may catch the reflection even in this 
present age of the vast scope of his oflSce in the centuries when the 
king ruled as well as reigned. It may be fitting to sum these up in 
the words of Mr. Gladstone, written to present to American readers 
some idea of the machinery of the British Constitution. After speak- 
ing of the functions of the ministry, Mr. Gladstone thus summarizes 
the position of the Crown in the nineteenth century : ' — 

"The sovereign in England is the symbol of the nation's unity, 
and the apex of the social structure; the maker (with advice) of the 
laws; the supreme governor of the Church; the fountain of justice; 
the sole source of honor; the person to whom all military, all naval, 
all civil service is rendered. The sovereign owns very large proper- 
ties; receives and holds, in law, the entire revenue of the state; ap- 
points and dismisses ministers; makes treaties; pardons crime, or 
abates its punishment ; wages war, or concludes peace ; summons and 
dissolves the Parliament; exercises these vast powers for the most 
part without any specified restraint of law; and yet enjoys, in 
regard to these and every other function, an absolute immunity 
from consequences. There is no provision in the law of the United 
Empire, or in the machinery of the Constitution, for calling the 
sovereign to account; and only in one solitary and improbable but 
perfectly defined case — that of his submitting to the jurisdiction 
of the Pope — is he deprived by statute of the throne. Setting aside 
that peculiar exception, the ofiFspring of a necessity still freshly felt 
when it was made, the Constitution might seem to be founded on 
the belief of a real infallibility of its head. Less, at any rate, cannot 
be said than this. Regal right has, since the Revolution of 1688, 
been expressly founded upon contract; and the breach of that con- 
tract destroys the title to the allegiance of the subject. But no pro- 
vision, other than the general rule of hereditary succession, is made 
to meet either this case or any other form of political miscarriage or 
misdeed. It seems as though the genius of the nation would not 
stain its lips by so much as the mere utterance of such a word; nor 
can we put this state of facts into language more justly than by say- 
ing that the Constitution would regard the default of the monarch 

1 In an article entitled " Kin beyond the Sea,'' in the North American 
Review, vol. cxxvn (1878), pp. 196. 



xiv INTRODUCTION 

with his heirs as the chaos of the state, and would simply trust to 
the inherent energies of the several orders of society for its legal 
reconstruction." 

This is, in theory, the position of kingship as it stands at present 
in the British Constitution. The theory, of course, is nullified by 
the single fact that Parliament holds the power of the purse — the 
final sovereign power in any land. But the theory of the British 
Constitution is not like most other political theories; it is not a cre- 
ation of theorists but the embodiment of history. Every power of 
royalty in this tremendous total was once exercised by English 
kings. The story of how those powers were won, used — and lost, 
is more than the incidental side of history; and, since democracy 
aspires less to destroy than to appropriate the attributes of sover- 
eignty, it can find in the biographies of these kings, whose power it 
now assumes, a chapter of its own adoptive past! 

Of the powers of the Crown of England, only a shadow is left. 
But the kingship itself is much more than a shadow. Such is the 
force of long tradition, the reverence for the past, the love of pag- 
eantry and — not least — the pride in a royal and imperial name, 
that the king still remains, in spite of all the age-long struggle 
against his claims, the living sign of the nation's unity. No bald 
words or abstract phrases such as love of country, liberty, equal- 
ity, fraternity, can quite match, in a genuine British breast, the 
appeal to loyalty for the sovereign. Kipling has given expression 
to this feeling with especial force, and however much a lover of 
peace may object to its possibilities of insular belligerency, it must 
be reckoned with as a vital element in the maintenance not only of 
the Crown, but of the empire itself. For, whether it is the "Widow 
at Windsor" or the "Sailor King," the British soldier and sailor will 
give their lives as readily now for the exalted head of the empire, as 
when the monarch really ruled. It is not power but sentiment 
which holds the allegiance of the nation to-day; but the sentiment 
thrills with the sense of all the glory of England's past and with the 
common consciousness of a world-empire concentrating its attention 
upon the symbol of its own greatness. 

J. T. Shotwell. 



HENRY VII 



HENRY VII 

CHAPTER I 

EAELY LIFE 

Henry Tudor was born at Pembroke Castle on 
28th January 1456-7. England was still torn by the 
last violent years of the Wars of the Roses, and 
Margaret, widow of Edmund Tudor, was living at 
Pembroke Castle under the protection of her brother- 
in-law, Jasper, Earl of Pembroke. There, three 
months after her husband's death, she gave birth 
to her son Henry, Earl of Richmond, afterwards 
Henry VII. A small room in the east end of a tower 
on the northern wall of the fortress, which in Leland's 
time contained a " chymmeney new made with the 
arms and badges of King Henry VII.," is still shown 
as Henry's birthplace.^ The babe came of an illus- 

1 The exact date of Henry's birth is not beyond dispute owing 
to the contradictory statements made by Bernard Andr6, Henry's 
biographer. He states that he was born on " Februarii kalend. 
decimo septimo " (16th January), on the feast of St. Agnes the 
Second (28th January) : Memorials of Henry VII. (Rolls Ser.); 
Andr6, Vita, p. 12. The latter date has been generally adopted, 
as Andr6 was probably more familiar with the saints' days than 
with the Roman calendar. Many years after, Henry's mother, 
writing " on the day of Seynt Anne's," referred to it as the day 
of his birth, but this difficulty has been overcome by the sug- 
gestion that she wrote " Seynt Anne's " inadvertently for " St. 
Agnes'." W. Busch, England under the Tudors (Eng. trans.), 
p. 220; Letters and Pa/pers of Richa/rd III. and Henry VII. (ed. 
Qairdner) (Bolls Ser.), i. 422-3. 

A 



2 HENRY VII [1457-66 

trious race. His mother was of the House of 
Plantagenet, by descent from John of Gaunt through 
his union with Katherine Swynford, whose descend- 
ants the Beauforts had been declared legitimate by 
Act of Parliament in the reign of Richard II. On 
the death of her father, the Duke of Somerset, in 
1444, she had inherited a share in the vast lands of 
the Beauforts. She had married Edmund Tudor at 
a very early age, and at the time of her son's birth 
was not quite fourteen years old. Edmund, Earl 
of Richmond, traced his descent, on his father's 
side, back to Cadwallader and the ancient kings of 
Britain, and through his mother Katherine, widow of 
Henry V., was allied to the royal blood of France. 
The young Earl of Richmond inherited, therefore, a 
threefold claim to royal descent.^ 

Henry's first years were spent at Pembroke Castle 
under his uncle's care. Before he was four years old 
his mother had married, as her second husband, 
Henry, Lord Stafford, a younger son of the Duke 
of Buckingham. At the accession of Edward IV., 
Henry Tudor was attainted, the honour of Richmond 
being granted to the king's brother George, Duke of 
Clarence. The Earl of Pembroke was attainted at 
the same time, but in spite of this the boy remained 
for a while in safety at Pembroke Castle, which stood 
for the House of Lancaster long after the rest of 
England had submitted to Edward IV., and, on its 
fall, was transferred to Harlech Castle. His education 
was begun by Andreas Scotus, and Hasely, Dean of 
Warwick. Owing to his delicacy he was taken about 

1 Henry's shield bore the arms of France and England quarterly, 
within a border azure, charged alternately with fleurs-de-lys and 
martlets or, his father having abandoned the old arms of Tudor. 



1466-71] EARLY LIFE 3 

from place to place for change of air, but Bernard 
Andre later declared, in his courtly way, that the 
boy showed himself remarkably quick and brilliant. ^ 
This comparatively peaceful time was interrupted by 
the capture of Harlech Castle by William, Lord 
Herbert, in 1466. Henry fell into the hands of the 
victor, who was rewarded with the title of the Earl 
of Pembroke and given the wardship of the young 
Earl of Richmond. He intended to marry the latter 
to his daughter Maud, but a year later he was killed 
at Banbury. A brief gleam of Lancastrian success 
followed. Richmond was restored to the keeping of 
the Earl of Pembroke, who was one of the first to 
welcome Henry VI. at his restoration. He presented 
his young kinsman to the king, this being the occasion 
of the frequently repeated though probably apocryphal 
prophecy concerning the boy's future, which appears 
in Henry VI. : — 

" His looks are full of peaceful majesty. 
His head by nature framed to wear a crown. 
His hand to wield a sceptre, and himself 
Likely in time to bless a regal throne." ^ 

According to Bernard Andre, the king advised 
that the boy should be sent abroad to escape the 
malice of his enemies. The defeat of the Lancastrians 
at the battle of Tewkesbury in 1471, followed by the 
deaths of the Prince of Wales and of Henry VI., 
made the Lancastrian cause seem hopeless. Even 
Wales was no longer safe. Earl Jasper, at the request 
of the boy's mother, embarked with his nephew on 
a vessel bound for France. The ship was driven out 

1 Andr6 said he had heard this directly from Sootus. Vita, p. 13. 
" Henry VI., Part III., Act iv., So. 6; Vita, p. 14. 



4 HENRY VII [1171-83 

of its course by storms, and the fugitives were landed 
on the coast of Brittany, which was then ruled by 
Duke Francis. He received them hospitably, policy 
suggesting that he had in his hands a possible means 
of buying the alliance of England against his threaten- 
ing neighbour France. Bernard Andr6, however, puts 
into the duke's mouth a speech Avhich suggests that 
he was induced to help by the boy's appearance and 
" evident good qualities." The duke certainly made 
good his promises of protection, and Henry remained 
in safety in Brittany in spite of the untiring efforts 
of Edward IV. to obtain his surrender. At one time 
he was in very great danger. An embassy from 
Edward IV. persuaded Duke Francis that the king 
intended to marry the young earl to one of his own 
daughters. He surrendered Henry to the envoys, 
who had reached St. Malo, en route for England, 
when they were detained there by a force sent by 
the duke, which conveyed Henry into sanctuary and 
refused to give him up. He remained in Brittany 
more closely guarded until the death of Edward IV 
His mother remained in England, and in 1482, on the 
death of Henry Stafford, had married, as her third 
husband, Thomas, Lord Stanley, a prominent Yorkist 
and the steward of King Edward's household. He 
gained the favour of Richard III., and his wife en- 
joyed a position of security and was even prominent 
at Court.^ 

Meanwhile many Lancastrian exiles, driven from 
England by the tyranny of Richard III., began to 
gather round Richmond, who was released from 
restraint on the death of Edward IV. Even in 

1 She actually held the queen's train at the coronation of 
Richard III. 



1483] EARLY LIFE 5 

England a party was being formed in his favour. 
The Duke of Buckingham, though mainly instru- 
mental in gaining the throne for Richard III., had 
retired in dissatisfaction from the Court. The cause 
of his defection is uncertain, but it may well have 
been disgust at the king's violence, working upon 
thwarted ambition. Some very curious stories are 
told of the way in which he was induced to give up 
his design of winning the throne for himself for a 
plan which involved the elevation of the exiled earl. 
According to the chroniclers, Hall and Grafton,^ the 
duke discussed his plans fully with the Lancastrian 
John Morton, Bishop of Ely, then a prisoner in the 
duke's custody, who cleverly inflamed his discontent. 
The story goes that the duke had quite forgotten 
the superior claims of the Countess of Richmond and 
her son, until, riding between Worcester and Bridg- 
north, he met the former, and it flashed into his 
mind that " she and her son, the Earl of Richmond, 
be bothe bulwarcke and portecolice betwene me and 
the gate to entre into the majestic royall and gettynge 
of the crowne." The Countess of Richmond sounded 
Buckingham with regard to her son's claims, and 
mentioned the fact that a marriage between the latter 
and one of the daughters of Edward IV. had been 
proposed. Though the duke returned an evasive 
answer at the time, he subsequently told Morton 
that if Richmond bound himself to such a marriage, 
he would be prepared to help him to the crown of 
England as heir of the House of Lancaster. This 
was a great triumph. By the advice of Morton, 
whose influence seems to have settled many of the 

' Their aooounts are founded on the Life of Richard III. by 
Sir Thomas More, pp. 88-91. 



6 HENRY VII [1483 

details of the conspiracy, Richard Bray (steward of 
the household to the Countess of Richmond) was 
summoned to Wales, and despatched thence with 
orders to advise his mistress to gain the consent of 
Elizabeth, the queen-dowager, widow of Edward IV., 
to the proposed alliance, and then to communicate 
the plan to Richmond in Brittany. 

Bray started on his mission but found that part 
of the scheme was already accomplished, the 
Countess of Richmond having approached Elizabeth 
in the matter.^ The queen-dowager was then in 
sanctuary at Westminster with her daughter, sur- 
rounded by the king's guards. The disappearance 
of her two sons was still a mystery and their tragic 
fate unknown, but her position seemed hopeless. 
Elizabeth was a fickle, wayward woman, ever ready 
to dabble in conspiracy, and the countess's emissary 
Lewis easily won her over to a plan which offered a 
hope of Richard's overthrow. They were about to 
send news of the scheme to Brittany when Bray 
arrived with proofs that the Duke of Buckingham 
was considering a similar plan. Two messengers, 
Hugh Conway and Thomas Ramme, were sent to 
Henry by different routes, with orders to acquaint 
him with the conspiracy, supply him with funds, and 
advise him to return as soon as possible and land in 
Wales, " where he shoulde not doubte to fynde both 
aide and comforte and frendes." 

The messengers arrived in Brittany on the same 

1 On this point Polydor Vergil and Hall disagree. The account 
in the text is derived from the former, who, as a contemporary, 
is the best authority for the reign. Dr. Busch has made it clear 
that the whole scheme originated with Margaret. Pol. Verg. 
AngliccB Historic Libri (1555 edition), hb. xxvi., p. 550; Hall^ 
Chronicle (ed. 1548), p. 390 ; Busch, p. 321. 



1483] EARLY LIFE 7 

day, and the news they brought was the turning 
point in the young earl's career. His ambition had 
not yet turned in the direction of the EngUsh crown, 
and it is quite possible that he was unaware of the 
strength of his hereditary title. ^ He was in great 
favour with the Duke of Brittany, and there were 
rumours of negotiations for his marriage with the 
duke's daughter and heiress Anne. Though the 
duke was reluctant to defy Richard III. openly, he 
constantly evaded his requests for the earl's surrender. 
Richard's ambassador Button reached Brittany in 
the summer of 1483, and in August the duke sent a 
diplomatic answer, in which he mentioned that Louis 
XI. of France was also trying to get hold of Richmond. 
The project for Henry's marriage with Anne of Brit- 
tany, however, was abandoned when Henry heard of 
the brilliant prospect open to him if he married Eliza- 
beth of York. On the 24th of September, Bucking- 
ham wrote to Richmond announcing that the 18th of 
October was the date fixed upon for a joint movement. 
Richmond's landing in Wales was to coincide with 
risings in all the southern counties from Kent to 
Devon. Henry matured his plans, and succeeded 
in obtaining help from Duke Francis, who seems to 
have had great faith in the success of the conspiracy. 
Unfortunately in England things were moving too 
fast. Popular excitement, which may have been 
due to the murder of the princes in the Tower be- 
coming known about this date,^ led to a premature 

1 He -was apparently in ignorance of a fact, well known to 
Buokinghani, that the words in the Act of Henry IV. barring the 
claim of the Beauf orts to the throne were an interpolation not found 
in the original Act of Richard II. L. and P. Hen. VII., ii., Intro, xxx. 
See below, p. 29. 

2 Buckingham was probably aware of it long before. 



8 HENRY VII [1483 

rising in Kent early in October, the news of which 
had reached Richard by the 11th of the month. 
Richard does not seem to have suspected Buckingham 
and was taken completely by surprise, but his measures 
were prompt and effective. On 15th October a 
proclamation was issued against Buckingham, and 
troops were immediately raised. Three days later, 
according to the plan, Richmond's adherents in the 
southern counties rose, and on the same day Bucking- 
ham raised his standard at Brecknock. But the 
disaffection of some of the Welsh leaders, a violent 
storm which, by making the Severn impassable, pre- 
vented a junction with Henry's Devonshire supporters, 
and the prompt action of the king sealed the fate of 
the rising. Many of the Welshmen deserted ; Bucking- 
ham fled from his troops, but was betrayed to King 
Richard ^ and beheaded at Salisbury on November 2nd. 
With him perished the hopes of the rising. 

Meanwhile Richmond, by the help of Duke Francis, 
had collected a fleet of fifteen ships and 5000 mer- 
cenaries ^ and embarked on 12th October. Dis- 
persed by a storm, most of the ships were driven back 
upon the coast of Brittany. Only Richmond's ship 
and one other crossed the Channel. Finding the 
coast at Poole well guarded, he sailed westward to 
Plymouth. But Devon and Cornwall were in arms 
against him ; he had to give up hope of landing, and 
set sail for Normandy. In spite of the failure of his 
enterprise, he obtained the passport he asked for 

1 Hall in his Chronicle (p. 395) tells a quaint story of the horrible 
fate that punished the traitor and aU his children with madness, 
leprosy, deformity, and violent death. 

2 Hall gives the number as forty ships {Chron., p. 395), but 
Polydor Vergil, the earlier authority, states that there were fifteen 
only. (Hist. Ang., p. 653.) 



1483-4] EARLY LIFE 9 

from the young king Charles VIII., who also pro- 
vided him with money. He stayed for a short time 
in Normandy, passing thence to Brittany, which he 
reached by 30th October. There he heard of the 
failure of the rising and of Buckingham's fate, and 
was joined by a crowd of refugees implicated in the 
rising, among whom were the Marquis of Dorset, the 
Bishops of Sahsbury and Exeter, John, Lord Wells, 
Sir Edward Courtenay, Sir Giles Daubeney, Sir John 
Bourchier, Sir Richard Edgecombe, Sir Edward 
Poynings, and many others, who later obtained the 
reward of their devotion. Morton, who had escaped 
from Buckingham's keeping to Flanders just before 
the rising, was working with the aid of Christopher 
Urswick in Henry's interests, " sending preuie letters 
and cloked messengers " to stir up hostility to King 
Richard. Sir Edward Woodvile, with his naval ex- 
perience, had been a member of Henry's growing 
court since July 1483. The Duke of Brittany still 
remained his friend and protector, and upon his return 
lent him 10,000 golden crowns. The scattered fleet 
had escaped Richard's warships and returned again 
to Brittany. Henry seems to have resolved upon a 
further attempt without delay, and summoned a 
council of the refugees to meet at Rennes. The 
conspiracy this time was inaugurated with some 
pomp and ceremony in Rennes Cathedral on Christ- 
mas Day, 1484. Henry was now the only leader of 
the opposition to Richard. He took a solemn oath 
in the cathedral that he would marry Elizabeth, 
daughter of Edward IV., as soon as he obtained the 
crown of England, while the assembled company 
swore fealty to him and did homage " as though he 
had bene that tyme the crowned kynge and anoynted 



10 HENRY VII [1*84 

prince." The scheme was communicated to the duke, 
who lent a large sum of money for arming and fitting 
out ships, on the security of Henry's word as a prince 
to repay it as soon as his scheme succeeded.^ 

In England the failure of the rising had brought 
punishment. The Earl of Richmond and many of 
his adherents were outlawed by the Parliament of 
January 1484, but in consideration of the support 
Lord Stanley had given to the king against his step- 
son's adherents, Henry's mother was committed to 
her husband's custody. Worst of all. King Richard 
had won over the queen-dowager. She lacked the 
courage to continue faithful to a design which had 
received such a severe check, and was prevailed upon 
by Richard, in spite of the grave reasons she had for 
doubting him, to leave sanctuary, and trust herself 
and her daughters to him, upon his taking an oath 
before Parliament to protect them. Richard, with 
Richmond's destined bride in his power, " thought 
the erle's chief e combe had ben clerely cut," and 
troops were levied and arrangements made for the 
defence of the coast against the threatened invasion 
from Brittany. At the same time Richard was ill 
at ease. As Vergil put it he was " continually pricked 
and tortured by perpetual dread of the earl's return," 
and he redoubled his efforts to obtain his surrender. 
An embassy was despatched to the Duke of Brittany, 
promising him all the revenues of the honour of 

1 It is possible that this refers to the 10,000 crowns of gold which 
had aheady been paid to Henry (Add. MSS., Brit. Mus., 19,398, 
No. 16, f. 33), in which case Hall's narrative is in error in the order 
of the events {Ohran., pp. 396-7). The duke's warrant for the de- 
Uvery of the money is dated 22nd November, L. and P. Hen. VII., 
i. 54. Bernard Andre's account of this period (pp. 24, 25) confuses 
Henry's first and second attempts on England. 



1484] EARLY LIFE 11 

Richmond, and of the estates of Richmond's ad- 
herents, in return for the earl's surrender. Owing to 
the illness of the duke, who was already showing 
signs of mental infirmity, the envoys were received 
by Pierre Landois, an upstart favourite. He resolved 
to give way to Richard's demands, not (as Polydor 
Vergil is careful to point out) through any enmity to 
Henry, but in the hope of gaining powerful support 
against the bitterly hostile nobles of Brittany. Rich- 
mond, however, was warned in time. Nothing escaped 
Morton in his exile in Flanders, and he sent Christo- 
pher Urswick to warn Henry and persuade him to 
escape into France. The messenger found Richmond 
at Vannes, and was at once sent on into France to 
ask for passports for the earl and his followers. The 
long-standing jealousy between France and Brittany 
again served Henry's turn. As soon as the duke's 
policy of favouring the exile had been abandoned by 
Landois, who, with less faith in Henry's star, pre- 
ferred the substantial bribe offered by the king 
de facto to the problematical gratitude of an exiled 
pretender, it was adopted by the French court. In 
September 1484, Henry received a favourable answer. 
It only remained, then, to choose the time and means 
of escape. A number of Henry's followers, under the 
leadership of the faithful Earl of Pembroke, rode 
towards the borders of Brittany, announcing that 
they were going to visit the invalid duke, and the 
earl, acting on Henry's secret instructions, led them 
over the border into France. Henry remained in 
Vannes for a couple of days, and then started for 
Anjou with five servants, suspicion being averted by 
the fact that 500 Englishmen, who knew nothing of 
his purpose, remained in Vannes. Five miles from 



12 HENRY VII [1484 

the town Henry turned into a wood, " and clothinge 
himself e in the symple cote of his poor servaunte," 
followed one of his men in the garb of a page, and 
rode without drawing rein towards the frontier. He 
crossed it only just in time. The horsemen sent in 
pursuit by Landois were barely an hour behind him,^ 
and the destinies of the Tudor dynasty hung by a 
slender thread. Henry made his way to the French 
king's court and received a promise of help. A pay- 
ment of 3000 livres was made to him in November. 

The position of the English exiles who remained in 
Vannes was very critical, but fortunately the duke 
recovered his health to some extent, and showed his 
friendship for Henry by giving Sir Edward Wood vile 
and Sir Edward Poynings permission and funds to 
convey them to rejoin their leader, who remained at 
the French court, accompanying the king and the 
regency to Paris. 

There Richmond was joined by other English refugees 
who had fled from Richard's tyranny,^ among them 
being Richard Fox, afterwards one of Henry's most 
trusted ministers. In addition the Earl of Oxford, 
the most powerful of all the Lancastrian nobles, 
who had been ten years a prisoner in the castle of 
Hammes near Calais, won over its captain, James 
Blount, to Henry's cause, and prevailed on him to set 
him at liberty and accompany him to join Richmond 

1 In the story of the flight, Hall's narrative is practically only 
a translation of Vergil's. Unfortunately no date is given, but 
it appears from the records of the deliberations of the Regency 
that the flight took place in September 1484. Procea-Verbaux 
de seances du conseil de regence de roi Charles VIII. (A. 
Bemier.) 

" Hall gives a vivid account of the excesses to which Richard 
was driven by ' ' the wilde worme of vengaunce waverynge in 
his hed." Ohron., p. 398. 



1484] EARLY LIFE 13 

in Paris. Oxford's adherence was specially welcome 
to Henry, the earl being reliable as a strong Lan- 
castrian, not a discontented Yorkist driven to him 
by hatred of Richard. Hall, following Vergil, writes 
of Henry's joy at the earl's arrival, " he was 
ravyshed with an incredibile gladnes, . . . and be- 
ganne to have a good hope of happy successe." ^ 

About this time the queen-dowager prevailed on 
her son, the Marquis of Dorset, to abandon Richmond's 
cause, partly through despair of the earl's success, 
and " partely onerate and vanquesshed with the faire 
glosynge promises of Kyng Richard." Fortunately 
for Henry, the deserter, who had stolen out of Paris 
by night, was stopped and brought back. Negotia- 
tions as to the amount of support to be given by 
France to Richmond's enterprise were still going on, 
but were complicated and delayed by the disputes in 
the French council between the Regent Anne and 
the opposition party led by the Duke of Orleans. 
Henry saw that further delay would dishearten his 
followers, and determined to make another attempt 
on England. It was at this time, probably, that he 
wrote the letters to his supporters in England that 
have been preserved, asking for their support of his 
" rightful claim, due and lineal inheritance of the 
Crown of England." He alludes to Richard as " that 
homicide and unnatural tyrant," and speaks of himself 
as their " poor, exiled friend." The letters were all 
signed H. R.^ He borrowed a small sum of money 
from King Charles and from private friends, leaving the 
treacherous Dorset and Sir Charles Bourchier at Paris 
as hostages for its repayment, and left for Rouen, 
where he began to collect a fleet to sail from Harfleur. 

1 Pol. Verg., 556; Hall, 405. ^ Halliwell, Letters, i. 161. 



14 HENRY VII [1485 

But Henry had not come to the end of his diffi- 
culties. While at Harfleur he heard of news which 
threatened the basis of his enterprise. In March 
1485, King Richard had been left a widower, his 
wife Anne having died "either of grief or by 
poison," and a rumour spread rapidly that the king 
intended to marry his niece, Elizabeth of York.^ This 
news reaching Henry, it was " no maruell," as the 
chronicler quaintly puts it, "though it nypped hym 
at the verie stomacke." Further disheartening delay 
seemed inevitable. There was little chance of obtain- 
ing Yorkist support in England if there was no hope 
of Richmond marrying the daughter of Edward IV, 
It seemed madness to go further without trying to 
enlist support in some other quarter. According to 
VergU, who has been followed by Hall, Henry enter- 
tained a plan for marrying the sister of Sir Walter 
Herbert and so gaining his alliance and influence 
in Wales, and actually sent messengers to the Earl 
of Northumberland, who had married another of 
Herbert's sisters.^ The messengers, however, were 
intercepted by Richard's spies. 

1 Elizabeth's attitude to this proposal, which is of some interest 
in view of the fact that she afterwards became Henry's wife, has 
been much discussed. According to Polydor Vergil (pp. 557-8) and 
the chroniclers (Hall, p. 407), she was violently opposed to the pro- 
posal, and this seems to be the soundest view. Sir George Buck, 
however, took the view that she Was by no means reluctant {Hist, 
of Rich. III.), founding his assertion on a letter written by her to 
the Duke of Norfolk, which he saw, he expressly states, in her 
own handwriting among the Arundel papers. The letter was never 
seen, apparently, by any one else. Stow, Speed, Holinshed, and 
Camden, Buck's contemporaries, are silent about it. For a full 
discussion of the question, see Gairdner, Richard III., pp. 202-4. 

^ Dr. Busch does not think this plan was ever seriously contem- 
plated, but regards it as a ruse to win the Welsh aUiance. There 
seems to be^ no evidence on which to form a decision. Vergil's 



1485] EARLY LIFE 15 

Meanwhile, the king's plan of marrying Elizabeth 
had raised such an outcry in England that he publicly 
disowned it. In June he issued a proclamation in 
which Richmond and his adherents were described 
as "open murderers, advoutrers, and extortioners," 
their " captain, . . . Henry Tydder," being described 
as of bastard blood on both sides. Richmond was still 
looking between hope and fear at the English coasts 
when better news came over. A Welsh lawyer, John 
Morgan,! reported that Rhys ap Thomas and Sir 
John Savage were ready to take up his cause, and 
that money had been collected by Reginald Bray. 
Rhys ap Thomas was by birth, ability, and education 
the leading spirit in South Wales. ^ Wales, it appeared, 
would be on the side of the Tudor prince, and in 
Wales he was urged to land. 

Any risk seemed preferable to further delay, and 
on August 1st Richmond sailed from Harfleur, having 
with him about 2000 men, including a French con- 
tingent supplied by King Charles, and commanded 
by Philibert de Shaunde, afterwards Earl of Bath.* 

words are a little indefinite, but it may be that Henry would have 
married any woman for a crown. Busch, op. cit., p. 19 ; Pol. Verg., 
p. 559 ; HaU, p. 410. 

1 Hall gives this name as Morgan Kidwelly, from which it has 
been inferred that Richard's Attorney-General betrayed him. 
Vergil, however, gives the name as John Morgan, and a Welsh 
biographer of considerable authority calls him John Morgan of 
Kidwelly, Who later became a member of Henry's council. Ob- 
viously the latter Was referred to. Hall, p. 410 ; Pol. Verg., 
p. 559; Cambrian Register (1795), p. 96. 

2 "All the kingdom is the king's, 

Save where Rhys doth spread his wings." — Welsh Ballad. 

^ A long speech, said to have been delivered by Henry at the 

embarkation, is reported by Andr6 (pp. 25-28). It is full of Biblical 

allusions ; Richmond compares himself to Moses and so forth. The 

authorship is obvious. 



16 HENRY VII [1485 

The little fleet was favoured by a following wind and 
smooth seas, and after seven days' voyage reached 
Milford Haven without opposition. The powerful 
fleet got together by Richard lay inactive off South- 
ampton. It had been prophesied that Richmond 
would land at Milford, and the royal fleet guarded a 
village of that name near Christchurch. Richmond 
and his followers landed near the village of Dale. 
The earl, we are told, knelt and kissed the ground, 
and after beginning the psalm Jvdica me Deus et 
decerne causam meam, he ordered his followers to 
advance in the name of God and of St. George.^ Just 
after landing, Henry knighted certain of his followers, 
exercising the attributes of the sovereignty he 
claimed.^ At sunrise he broke up his camp at 
Dale and advanced to Haverfordwest, ten miles 
away, where he was received with shouts of " King 
Henry, King Henry ! Down with the bragging white 
boar ! " There the bad, and as it subsequently 
appeared untrue, news was brought him that John 
Savage and other prominent Welshmen had made 
up their minds to support King Richard; but the 
hopes of the adventurer's followers were revived by 
a message of welcome from the town of Pembroke, 
Henry's birthplace, which was prepared to support 
its " natural and immediate lord." From Haver- 
fordwest Richmond marched to Cardigan, where 
he was joined by Richard Griffith and John Morgan 
with their men, and then rapidly forward, taking the 

1 RiUland Papers, i. 7; Fabyan, Chron.,p. 672. Rhys ap Thomas, 
who had sworn to King Richard that any pretender would have 
" to make entrance over his bellie," is said to have kept the letter 
of his oath by throwing himself on the ground and allowing Rich- 
mond to step over him. 

2 Harl. MSS., 75, fo. 3 Id. 



1485] EARLY LIFE 17 

places garrisoned against him without difflciilty. He 
sent messengers to his mother, to her husband, Lord 
Stanley, and to the latter's brother, Sir Gilbert Talbot, 
announcing his intention of marching on London, 
and asking them to meet him with all the force they 
could muster. It was about this time, probably, that 
Henry wrote to his kinsman, John ap Meredith, the 
letter that has been preserved. The letter is headed 
" By the King," and is written throughout in terms 
of sovereignty. The earl speaks of his " loving and 
true subjects " and of his realm of England, de- 
nouncing the king de facto as " the odious tyrant 
Richard, late Duke of Gloucester, usurper of our said 
right," and commands Meredith to join him with all 
the force at his disposal, " as ye will avoid our grievous 
displeasure and answer it at your peril." Bold 
language this for a proscribed exile who had only just 
landed, and who had but a handful of followers to 
match with the forces of a kingdom, but its boldness 
was justified by success. 

The attitude of the Stanleys was of the utmost 
importance — one had all Lancashire at his back, 
the other ruled North Wales ; but they preferred not 
committing themselves to either party until they 
saw how things were going. They were ready, it 
seemed, to betray Richard, in spite of the favour he 
had shown them, as soon as Heiury's success appeared 
probable.^ It soon appeared that Richmond had 
done well in setting up his standard in Wales. Welsh 
chieftains rallied to support the descendant of Welsh 
kings and fight under the red dragon of Cadwallader ; 
Welsh bards and minstrels roused local feeling in his 

1 Their timorous policy is explained by the fact that Stanley's 
son and heir. Lord Strange, was a hostage in Richard's hands. 

B 



18 HENRY VII ti4:85 

favour, and Welsh prophecies were quoted to the effect 
that a Welshman of. the line of Cadwallader would 
one day be King of England.^ The invader marched 
on to Shrewsbury, taking the long route through 
Wales to gain as many adherents as possible,^ and 
from Shrewsbury advanced to Newport. The force 
under his banner was growing daily, but still the 
Stanleys hesitated. Sir William Stanley had a con- 
ference with Richmond at Stafford, but nothing 
came of it. Stanley rejoined his troops, and Henry 
marched on unchecked to Lichfield. 

The news of Richmond's landing did not reach 
King Richard, who was at Nottingham, until 11th 
August, when he had already reached Shrewsbury. 
The king appears to have underestimated the danger, 
and though he summoned the Duke of Norfolk, the 
Earls of Northumberland and Surrey, and the Stanleys 
to join him at once, he did not move until he heard 
of Henry's advance to Shrewsbury. Lord Stanley 
excused himself on the plea of illness, and Richard 
discovered from Lord Strange that he was meditating 
treachery. Sir William Stanley, who had allowed 
Henry to march through Wales unopposed, was 
proclaimed a traitor. In August Richard mustered 
a large army and set out for Leicester, which he 
reached on 20th August. Henry was steadily advanc- 
ing into the heart of England, and marching from 

1 As a ballad put it — 

" Richmond, spmng from British race, 
From out this land the boar shall chase." 

2 An interesting account of Henry's march through Wales is 
given by a descendant of the Rhys family. It is, however, coloured 
by partiaUty to Rhys. Cambrian Begiater, pp. 88-112. See also 
Gairdner, Richard III., pp. 274r-280. 



U85] EARLY LIFE 19 

Lichfield to Tamworth was joined by Sir Walter 
Hungerford, Sir Thomas Bourchier, and other de- 
serters, who brought the force summoned by Richard 
to the standard of his rival. Lord Stanley's attitude 
still made Henry very anxious. He lingered in the 
. rear of the army " as a man disconsolate, musyng 
and ymagenynge what was best to be done," and so 
lost sight of his rearguard in the darkness, and fearing 
to betray himself by asking his way stayed at a small 
village all night. He rettirned to his anxious army 
at daybreak, rather characteristically explaining his 
absence as caused, " not by mistake but by design, to 
receive a message from secret allies." A little later 
he made another secret journey to Atherstone, where 
he consulted the Stanleys, and received assurances of 
Lord Stanley's support. 

On Sunday, 21st August, Richard marched out of 
Leicester, camped near the village of Market Bos- 
worth, and on the following day pitched his battle in 
the plain, his army being so large that his front was 
extraordinarily long. The vanguard was composed of 
archers, under the Duke of Norfolk, and King Richard, 
riding on a white charger, followed in command of the 
main body, the flower of his army. On 20th August 
Henry's force had been encamped at Atherstone, near 
Merevale Abbey ; on the following day he marched to 
White Moors, being then within three miles of the 
royal army, and in the morning led out his men and 
prepared for battle.^ The Stanleys still seemed to 
hold the key of the situation. The men under Lord 
Stanley were drawn up midway between Richmond 
and the king, with Sir William Stanley opposite. 

1 Plan of battle of Bosworth. Hutton, Baitle of Boawarth 
Field, p. 1. 



20 HENRY VII [1*85 

Henry appealed to Lord Stanley to come and help 
him form his men, but was put off with an evasive 
answer. Having hesitated so long, he had deter- 
mined to be found on the winning side. 

The chroniclers give an interesting description of 
Richmond's appearance as he stood on a hill to 
address his troops on the most critical day of his 
adventurous life.^ " He was of no great stature," 
we are told, " his countenance and aspecte was 
chereful and couragious, his heare yelow lyke the 
burnished golde, his eyes gray shynynge and quicke." 
The orations said to have been delivered by the two 
leaders have been handed down to us, but Henry's 
appeal and the speech of the fiery Richard rest on 
the same slender foundations. Henry's speech seems 
to have contained the same bold claim to sovereignty 
he had made on landing and continued ever since. 
He asserted that Richard usurped his lawful patri- 
mony and lineal inheritance, and hinted that the host 
ranged against him, which appears to have been at 
least twice as large as his own, contained soldiers " by 
force compelled and not with goodwill assembled." 
According to Hall he inveighed against " younder 
tyraunt, Richard Duke of Gloucester . . . which is 
both Tarquine and Nero," urged his men not to be 
dismayed by the disparity of numbers, and bade 
them advance like " trew men against traytors, 
pitifull persones against murtherers, trew inheritors 
against usurpers, ye skorges of God against tirauntes " 
in the name of God and of St. George. Inspired by 
some such stirring appeal Henry's men advanced to 
the attack, their right wing being protected by marshy 

1 Hall, Chron., pp. 416-18; Halliwell, Letters of Kings of Eng., i. 
164^9. 



BATTLE or BOSWORTH 22'-''AUGUST 1485 




Adapted by permission from the plan by Sir James H, Ramsay, Bart., 
in Lancaster and York 



1485] EARLY LIFE 21 

ground, their left and rear by a little stream, while 
the sun shone into the faces of the royal host. The 
advance, though a bold move, was well managed. 
The Earl of Oxford, with the archers, was in the 
centre ; the right and left wings were led by Sir Gilbert 
Talbot and Sir John Savage ; Henry, with the Earl of 
Pembroke, led the main guard. His whole force did 
not exceed 5000, though, strangely enough, he seems 
to have been considerably stronger than Richard in 
artUlery, the new weapon of war against which the 
chivalry of a feudal host was powerless.'^ As Rich- 
mond's men were moving to the attack and had just 
passed the marsh, the royal army fell upon them.^ 
The Earl of Oxford, fearing to be surrounded by the 
overwhelming force opposed to him, paused in the 
attack ; but, realising from the weakness of their 
resistance that the royal troops were fighting half- 
heartedly, pressed on again. At this critical moment 
Stanley led his 3000 men over to join Richmond. 
This seems to have decided the issue of the battle; 
but a little later Henry was singled out for personal 
combat by King Richard, who slew his standard- 
bearer, and was fighting hand to hand with his rival, 
when the Homeric contest was ended by Sir William 
Stanley, whose men, " in their coats as red as blood," 
fell upon the king's lines. Richard, with the fierce 
bold spirit of the Plantagenet race, refused to fly, and 
died fighting desperately. 

In a short time the battle of Bosworth Field was 
over. Henry had gained a decisive victory. Though 
the fight only lasted two hours, the loss was heavy, 

1 Gairdner, Archmologia, Iv. 168-9. 

' Hall's account of the battle is unreliable, Vergil's simpler story 
is to be preferred. 



22 HENRY VII [1485 

especially on King Richard's side, those slain includ- 
ing the Duke of Norfolk, Lord Ferrers, Sir Richard 
Ratchffe, and Sir Robert Brackenbury. Lord Lovel 
and the Staffords fled to sanctuary at Colchester, and 
the Earls of Northumberland and Surrey were taken 
prisoners. Henry only lost about 100 men, among 
them being his standard-bearer, William Brandon. 
This was the last of the thirteen battles of the Roses, 
and of them all the most important. 

Henry, after giving thanks for the victory " with 
devoute and Godly orisons," stood on a mound, called 
to this day " King Harry's Hill," to address his 
victorious troops, bidding them care for the wounded 
and bury the slain. He was hailed with shouts of 
"King Henry! — King Henry!" The crown which 
the dead king had worn into battle was found in a 
hawthorn bush and brought to Lord Stanley, who 
set it on Richmond's head.^ Henry Tudor was 
King of England.^ 

1 Andr6 mentions Fox and Christopher Urswiok as present in 
the battle. Vita, pp. 33, 34. 

^ Richmond's persistent assumption of sovereignty appears even 
in a contemporary ballad, which makes him say, on the eve of the 
battle : " I trust in England to continue king " [Ballad of Bosworih 
Meld). Other ballads, The Rose of England and the Song of the Lady 
Bessy, give vivid and dramatic details. Percy MSS. (ed. Hales and 
Furnivall) ; Gairdner, Richard III., pp. 345-362. 



CHAPTER II 

ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION OF HENRY VII.— 
SETTLEMENT IN THE KINGDOM, 1485-1487 

Henry Tudor had been hailed as King of England 
by the shouts of his victorious army, but he was 
still far from his goal. The difficulties that faced 
him dwarfed his early struggles. He had might not 
right behind him, and a claim that rested on force 
invited a later trial of strength, and involved asso- 
ciations of tyranny and subjection. He had been 
raised by the result of a successful conspiracy, by 
an unnatural union of York and Lancaster due to 
a common detestation of King Richard. It was on 
the maintenance of this union that Henry's hold 
on England depended during the first difficult months 
of his reign, but there was no guarantee that it would 
survive now that its chief object had been attained 
in Richard's overthrow. The vicissitudes of the long 
struggle between York and Lancaster had bred in 
the minds of the people a familiarity with violent 
changes which, while it had contributed to Henry's 
success, might as easily cause his fall. Loyalty to 
the Crown was almost extinguished, reverence for 
its wearer had vanished. The Crown had become the 
prize of private ambition. No great king had lifted 
it out of the arena of conffict, the wearers of it had 
frequently been overthrown and met with violent 
deaths. The country that had produced Warwick 



24 HENRY VII [1*85 

the King-maker had become accustomed to sudden 
changes in the titular sovereignty. The York and 
Lancaster quarrel had been the curse of England. 
There were no great principles at stake. The con- 
flict had all the bitterness of a family feud, all the 
unscrupulousness of a quarrel over property, all the 
ruthlessness of a violent age, all the obstinacy of a 
struggle between evenly matched opponents, all the 
fanatic fierceness that fired the blood of the Angevin 
kings. Plantagenet had destroyed Plantagenet until 
the race was almost extinct, and the kings who had 
fought their bloodstained way to the throne had 
dealt out destruction with a savage hand. The 
nation was familiar with tyranny, usurpation, and 
regicide, with bitter feuds in the royal house, with 
wholesale slaughter in battle, with open executions, 
and with cold-blooded secret murders in royal 
palaces. 

The whole country was exhausted and disorderly. 
The prospect of settled government, the only hope of 
the people, aroused no enthusiasm among the nobles, 
whose overgrown power was at the root of many of 
the evils that distracted the country. The Crown 
had been far too weak to keep in subjection men 
who were almost kings in their own castles, and in 
whose veins ran royal blood. Ever since the loss of 
the French possessions had removed an outlet for 
their tempestuous energy, England had been their 
battleground. Rebellion had become a habit, treason 
an occupation. The weakness of the government of 
Henry VI. removed the only check on anarchy, and 
England had been plunged into a struggle of un- 
precedented bitterness. Each great noble had his 
retinue, fed, lodged, and armed at his expense, 



1485] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 25 

clothed in his livery, and obeying his orders blindly. 
Six oxen were killed to provide one meal for the 
Earl of Warwick's household, and even the neighbour- 
ing taverns were supplied with his meat. More than 
four hundred and fifty persons dined and supped in one 
day at the table of the Duke of Buckingham. There 
are constant references in the Paston Letters and other 
collections to the prevalence of a custom so dangerous 
to the central government.^ Again, the custom of 
placing the sons of the gentry in the households of the 
great nobles to be brought up extended the influence 
of the feudal nobility and added to the number of the 
families personally involved in quarrels between them. 

Another part of the constitution from which some 
stability might have been hoped for had failed. 
Parliament, which had enjoyed a brief but promising 
time of development under the early Lancastrians, 
failed when the sheltering hand of a strong king was 
removed. The House of Commons fell under the 
influence of the great nobles, became a mere tool 
and echo of the Upper House, and slavishly reflected 
the vicissitudes of the Civil War, proscribing attainders 
as ordered and reversing them when required.^ 

The lower ranks of society, though not involved to 

^ An Italian observer wrote : " The titled nobility . . . were 
extremely profuse in their expenditvire, and kept a very great 
retinue in their houses (which is a thing the Enghsh delight in 
beyond measure) ; and in this manner they made themselves a 
miiltitude of retainers and followers, with whom they afterwards 
molested the Court and their own countries ; and in the end them- 
selves, for at last they were all beheaded." — Italian BelaMon 
(Camden Society), p. 39. 

^ "It claimed a cogency and infallibility which every change of 
policy belies." — Stubbs, Const. Hist., iii. 252. The composition of 
the House of Commons was dependent upon the influence of 
the nobles over the local elections. 



26 HENRY VII [1485 

the same extent in the dynastic struggle, had not 
escaped the evils of civil war. Roughly speaking, 
North was fighting against South in the cause of 
the white and the red roses. Law and justice were 
paralysed, juries were overawed by open violence or 
unblushing bribery.^ Writs of all kinds were bought 
and sold. Gangs of outlaws and desperadoes haunted 
the royal forests and exterminated the deer in the 
royal parks. Murder had become horribly frequent, 
and often went not only unpunished but unprosecuted, 
as the coroners often failed in their duty. The 
custom of sanctuary had become a crying abuse. 
Sir Thomas More, drawing a pictiu-e of the state of 
England ten years after Henry's accession, thought 
that few sanctuary men were driven to that refuge 
by necessity. " Thievis bring thither their stolen 
goods and live theron . . . nightly they steal out, 
they robbe and steale and kill and come in again as 
though those places gave them not only a safeguard 
for the harm they have done but a license to do 
more." Further, he says, " rich men run thither 
with poor men's goods, there they build, there they 
spend and bid their creditors go whistle them." ^ 
Benefit of clergy had also been abused to such an 
extent that crime increased. The Italian writer said 
that " priests are the occasion of crimes," and pointed 
out the ease with which criminals could escape 
punishment by pleading benefit of clergy. " Yet 
notwithstanding all these evasions," he continued, 
" people are taken up every day by dozens, like birds 
in a covey, and especially in London, yet for all this 
they never cease to rob and murder in the streets. . . , 

• e.g., PoBton Letters, ed. Gairdner, i. 208, 215. 

* Utopia; Ital. Bel., p. 35. 



1485] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 27 

There is no country in the world where there are so 
many thieves and robbers as England, insomuch 
that few venture to go alone in the country except in 
the middle of the day, and fewer still in the towns 
at night, and least of all in London." ^ Even in the 
walled towns, comparatively immune from the disturb- 
ances of the Civil War, there was poverty and decay, 
due to the interruption of trade and heavy taxation. 
The coasts were ill defended, piracy flourished un- 
checked. The Crown was heavily in debt, and many of 
the Crown jewels were in pawn. Ireland was almost in- 
dependent of the English king, and was even a potential 
enemy of Henry VII., the dominant party among the 
Anglo-Irish lords being Yorkist in sympathy. 

The influence of England in Europe was negligible. 
All the energies of the nation and of its kings had been 
sucked into the whirlpool of civil strife. England was 
even losing her foreign trade, and much of what 
remained was monopolised by privileged aliens. The 
conquests of Henry V. had gone, and with them the 
prestige of England which, exhausted and without 
allies, had sunk into a mean position. But, when 
considering the position of England in Europe in 1485, 
it must not be forgotten that the country enjoyed 
one great advantage. It was not, like France or Spain, 
only lately consolidated and united by the accident of 
dynastic succession. Ithad longbeen a separate nation, 
and the people were already becoming self-conscious 
and proud of their nationality. " These English," 
wrote an Italian observer, " are great lovers of them- 

1 Ital. Rel., pp. 34, 36. The Italian visitor gives a very lively 
acoountof " the Islanders," of their love of good living and fine clothes, 
their hatred of foreigners and insular pride, their great wealth and 
avarice. IhiA., pp. 20, 21, 23, 25, 28, 29, 72. 



28 HENRY VII [1*85 

selves, and of everything belonging to them ; they think 
that there are no other men but themselves, and no 
other world but England." ^ It was to this awakening 
patriotism that Henry VII. later successfully appealed. 
It was a formidable task to face, and Henry's right 
to undertake it was open to very grave objections. 
The principle which regulated the descent of the 
Crown was by no means certain. It was clear enough 
that the monarchy was hereditary, but whether it 
could be transmitted through females was not so 
clear. In addition there was the difficulty arising 
from Parliamentary acknowledgment of variations 
from the hereditary principle. In the confusion, both 
parties could claim that they had right on their side. 
If the Crown could be inherited like a private estate, 
Heiu-y VII. might claim it as nearest heir of Henry 
VI., who had inherited a Parliamentary title from 
Henry IV. If the throne of England descended like a 
peerage and by law of strict inheritance confined to 
the heirs male, it belonged to the Yorkist party, and 
Edward, Earl of Warwick, should have been King of 
England. Both claims, however, had been barred 
by attainder. The Lancastrian usurpation had been 
legalised by Act of Parliament and dignified by three 
generations of kingship, but Henry VII. could only 
show a flawed descent. He was neither heir general 
nor heir male of Edward III. ; his claim to inherit 
from Henry IV. was through the half blood, and 
therefore doubtful. He could claim that he was heir 
general of John of Gaunt, but even that was open to 
some dispute. The issue of John of Gaunt's union 
with Katherine Swynford had been legitimised by 
Act of Parliament, and research has shown that 

1 Ital. Bel., p. 21. 



1485] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 29 

the clause reserving the royal dignity contained in 
the later confirmation did not exist in the original 
Act of Richard II. It is doubtful whether such an 
interpolation, involving as it did an alteration in the 
nature of the Act it purported to confirm, was of 
binding force. Henry himself was probably unaware 
of the strength of his own claim,^ and Richard III. 
had in many proclamations insisted on the bastardy 
of his ancestry. There was another difficulty. What 
claim Henry had he derived from his mother, and 
this recognition of the principle of descent through 
females involved the admission that the Yorkists de- 
scended from Lionel came before him. The fact that 
if Henry's title was good his mother's was better seems 
to have been completely and fortunately overlooked.^ 
As far as hereditary right went the Yorkists un- 
doubtedly had the stronger position. They had been 
very popular in London and in the north, especially 
in the city of York,^ but their prodigality and violence 
had brought reaction. The brilliant court of Edward 
IV. had little influence outside a narrow area, and 
the failure of his attempts at foreign invasion aroused 
memories of the splendid achievements of Henry V. 
The claims of both parties had been discredited by 
their failures. The Yorkists could claim " the divine 
right of hereditary succession," but their tyranny 
had alienated loyalty ; the Lancastrian rule had a 
Parliamentary basis but had failed to provide strong 
government. The whole difficult question of prin- 

1 L. and P. Hen. VII., ii., Intro, xxx. Busch, op. cit., p. 22. 

^ On the question of Henry's title see Stubbs, Led. on Med. and 
Mod. History, 39i-5. 

^ Davies, York Records, pp. 220-4. The corporation expressed 
their deep regret at the restdt of the battle of Bosworth. 



30 HENRY VII [1485 

ciple was admirably summarised by the Italian 
observer, who noticed that though the king theoreti- 
cally succeeded by hereditary right, if the succession 
were disputed the question was often settled by force 
of arms. "And heretofore it has always been an 
understood thing that he who lost the day, lost the 
kingdom also." ^ Technicalities of title were of little 
importance at a time when every member of both 
the royal houses had been attainted at one time or 
another, and when ambition and violence had proved 
the most successful title to the throne. 

In the absence of a clearly recognised and binding 
principle of succession, Henry's claim that he was the 
heir of the House of Lancaster was good enough to 
enlist the loyalty of those who had fought for the 
red rose. The vitality of the Lancastrian dynasty 
is noticeable. Its roots went deep into the soil ; it 
was hard to upset, and revived in the face of great 
odds. Was there really a popular appreciation of 
their " politic " rule ? Possibly ; there certainly was 
a revulsion from the tyranny of the House of York. 
The violence of the later stages of the dynastic 
struggle had strengthened Henry's position. The 
murders and executions that preceded and followed 
Richard's coronation paved the way for the Tudor 
by removing his competitors. The direct line of the 
House of Lancaster had been wiped out, and of the 
House of York there remained only Edward, Earl of 
Warwick, and the daughters of Edward IV. Henry 
had enlisted the support of many of the Yorkists 
alienated by the brutality of Richard III.,^ and could 

1 Ital. Rd., p. 46. 

2 On this point see Leadam, Star Chamber Oases (Selden Soc.), i. 
Intro, cliv. 



1485] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 31 

count on its continuance. The young Earl of War- 
wick, who had a hereditary claim upon their loyalty, 
was a feeble-minded boy, and Henry's promise to 
marry Elizabeth of York presented an attractive 
compromise. The Yorkists who helped Henry to 
'the throne hoped to see him reign by virtue of this 
marriage. From this view Henry dissented. To 
reign in right of a Yorkist wife was to " be but a 
King at courtesy, and have rather a matrimonial than 
a regal power." ^ Yorkist loyalty would be due to 
the queen rather than the king, and would be un- 
certain and undependable at best. Henry meant, if 
possible, to be crowned King of England in his own 
right alone, and to make his marriage appear a 
concession rather than a compromise. 

From Henry's point of view the situation was 
promising. The nation was weary of anarchy and 
Icfoked for a strong central government as the only 
hope of peace. Defects of title would be ignored in 
a king who would govern with a strong hand and 
justly. The forces that had formerly acted as a 
check on royal power were demoralised. The Church, 
wrapped in a materialistic slumber, had ceased to be 
the guardian of popular freedom ; Parliament repre- 
sented only popular apathy and lack of interest in 
politics. There was no force in England that offered 
hope of salvation to society except the Crown, and 
no force that could resist it, if it took up the challenge. 
Anarchy gave birth to despotism. 

Everything depended on the character and ability 
of the new king. He needed all his statecraft and 
tenacity if he was to keep his seat on the uneasy 
throne of the Plantagenets. One moment's slacken- 

1 Bacon, Herwy VII. (ed. Spedding), p. 29. 



32 HENRY VII [1485 

ing of grip, the first appearance of weakness, and 
Henry VII. would add another to the long list of 
deposed or murdered kings. But the hour had pro- 
duced the man. The new king had given proofs of 
marked ability in the difficult years of exile. Some| 
thing was due to his personal gifts, more perhaps to 
the teaching of adversity. All the chroniclers agree 
that Henry had the gift of-winning friendship and 
retaining loyalty. / The Duke of Burgundy, we are 
told, was won over to support him by his good looks 
and fine bearing, his gravity in spite of his youth, 
and his modesty and uprightness.^ A similar reason 
is given to explain the support he obtained from the 
King of France. Even allowing for the bias of the 
courtly narrator, it is clear that Henry was extra- 
ordinarily successful in inspiring his supporters with 
faith in his ultimate success. He retained the friend- 
ship of France and Burgundy in the face of Richard's 
tempting offers, and the failure of his first attempt 
upon England was not followed by any notable seces- 
sions from his cause. Though an exile in a foreign 
court, dependent upon the bounty of a foreign prince, 
he had escaped subservience and incurred no fettering 
obligations. To patience in waiting he added bold- 
ness in action. He did not hesitate to land a handful 
of men on the English coast, and take the style and 
title of King of England. But to the qualities 
common to all adventurers, Henry added gifts of a 
very different calibre. Circumstances had made him 
subtle, tactful, secretive, had given him judgment 
and experience of men and their motives. iHall 
speaks of him as having the " ingenious forcast of 
the subtyl serpent." It needed no mean capacity to 
' Andr6, Vita, p. 17. 



1485] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 33 

keep together his band of exiles, watch those who 
meditated treachery, negotiate the aUiance with the 
queen-dowager, win over the Welsh chieftains and 
the wavering Stanleys. Thus it was a man who had 
already learnt something of the statesmanship which 
afterwards distinguished him as the "politic king," who 
took up the task of kingship at the age of twenty-eight. 

On the field of battle Henry knighted eleven of his 
followers, among whom were Gilbert Talbot and Rhys 
ap Thomas. In the evening the conqueror marched 
with his victorious army into Leicester. There too 
the body of the late king was shamefully brought, 
strapped on the back of a horse, " naked and despoyled 
to the skynne . . . and byspryncled with mire and 
bloude." Bacon's statement that the king, " of his 
nobleness," ordered that his defeated rival should 
have honourable burial is supported by the words 
of Andre,^ but the king's body seems to have been 
buried in the Grey Friars' church with little cere- 
mony. In later years the king had a tomb raised 
to Richard's memory.^ 

It was all important for Henry to have in his power 
the surviving members of the Yorkist royal family, 
the Princess Elizabeth and the Earl of Warwick, who 
had been confined by Richard in the castle of Sheriff's 
Hutton in Yorksldre. While Henry was still at 
Leicester, Sir Richard Willoughby, armed with a royal 
warrant, obtained the surrender of the Earl of War- 
wick, who was at once conveyed to London and lodged 
in the Tower, where he was to spend the rest of his un- 
happy life. In this " act of policy and power " Bacon 
finds Henry acting as a partizan rather than a king, 

1 Andrfi, Vita, p. 34; Bacon, p. 27. 

' Mxcerpta Historica (Privy Purse Expenses), ed. Bentley, p. 105. 

C 



34 HENRY VII [1485 

but the young earl, though without character or capa- 
city, was dangerous as the heir of the Yorkist hne and 
of their claim upon the people's loyalty. At the same 
time the Princess Elizabeth, attended by a consider- 
able retinue, was taken to join her mother in London. 

After two days in Leicester Henry advanced 
towards the capital, marching by easy stages along 
roads lined with cheering spectators. He reached 
London on Saturday, 27th August, being met at 
Hornsey by the mayor, sheriffs, and councillors in 
their scarlet robes, and by a great crowd of citizens, 
who pressed forward to kiss the hands " which had 
overcome so monstruous and cruell a tyrant." ^ Andre, 
who greeted him with an ode of welcome, records his 
triumphant entry into the joyful city. He rode 
" with greate pompe and triumphe " to St. Paul's,^ 
where with prayers and a Te Deum he offered up his 
victorious standards, the standard of St. George, a 
banner bearing the red fiery dragon of Cadwallader, 
and a yellow banner emblazoned with a dun cow.^ 

The king took up his quarters at the Bishop of 

^ The date of the king's entry into London, given by Dr. Gairdner 
as 3rd September, has been corrected by Dr. Busoh on the authority 
of the City Chronicle (MS. fo. 141, ed. Kingsford, p. 193). He 
certainly entered London on a Saturday (Andr6, Vita, p. 34), " which 
day ... of the week he accounted and chose as a day prosperous 
unto him." Bacon, p. 32. 

^ Bacon's suggestion that Henry entered the city in a closed 
chariot, perhaps based upon Speed's misreading of Andre's narrative, 
has been finally disposed of by Dr. Gairdner. Henry VII., p. 33 ; 
Memorials, Intro., p. xxv. ; Busoh, op. cit., p. 322, n. 6. 

' The significance of this banner has not been discovered. Most 
of the king's standards were argent and vert, the Tudor colours ; 
one only bore the azure and gules of the Plantagenet kings. This 
last, which bore a crowned lion, red roses encircled with rays of gold, 
and fleurs-de-lys, was the standard of Edward III., with the addition 
of the Tudor roses. — Excerpta Historica, pp. 57, 61. 



1485] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 35 

London's palace, and summoned a council at which he 
renewed his promise to marry Elizabeth. According 
to Polydor Vergil a day was fixed for the marriage, but 
Henry did not abandon his intention of first being 
acknowledged as king in his own right. Before he had 
been a week in the capital he surrounded himself with 
the trappings of his new dignity, royal robes of cloth 
of gold and ermine, rich plate and jewels. " Playes, 
pastymes and pleasures were shewed in every part 
of the cytie." On 3rd September the king paid a 
state visit to the city, a free gift of 1000 marks being 
voted to him. On 15th September writs were issued 
for a Parliament to meet on 5th November " to dis- 
cuss pressing and weighty measures for the government 
and defence of the kingdom and church of England." 
Henry, in the words of Bacon, "as a prudent and 
moderate prince, made this judgment that it was fit 
for him to haste to let his people see that he meant to 
govern by law, howsoever he came in by the sword." 
During the weeks that followed the king secured 
his hold on the possessions as well as the dignity of 
royalty, rewarding his followers, taking over the Crown 
lands, appropriating the confiscated property of the 
late king's supporters, and getting the machinery of 
administration into his hands. The first weeks of his 
reign are a fair specimen of the occupations of his 
whole laborious life and of his intimate knowledge of 
all the details of administration. Grants of land and 
money were made to all the king's faithful supporters, 
from the Earl of Oxford down to simple yeomen who 
had done service " at the late victorious felde." ^ 

^ Among those who were rewarded were Sir Richard Edgecombe, 
the Stanleys, Hugh Conway, Christopher tJrswick, and Rhys ap 
Thomas. 



36 HENRY VII [1485 

No one who is known to have served the king was 
forgotten, and those who had suffered for the House 
of Lancaster in the past were rewarded. One WilHam 
Stoughton, for instance, who had " dispended his 
youth in the service of Henry VI.," was made an 
alms-knight of St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Nearly 
all these grants contained a clause stating that the 
gift was made to the king's servant " in consideration 
of his services against the king's rivalling enemy and 
adversary, Richard, late Duke of Gloucester, the 
usurper of the king's right and crown aforesaid." Some 
such description of the late king was always inserted, 
in accordance with custom ; in fact the shorter form, 
" King in dede but not in right," became a stereotyped 
formula attached to any mention of Richard's name. 
Changes were made in the administrative and 
judicial offices. The Bishop of Exeter became Keeper 
of the Privy Seal,^ and Thomas Lovell Chancellor of 
the Exchequer. New judges and law officers were 
appointed. Many important offices were bestowed 
upon the king's suite. John, Earl of Oxford, became 
Constable of the Tower of London for life.^ Sir 
William Berkeley became " master and operator of 
the king's monies and keeper of the king's exchange " ; 
Sir Richard Guildford, another faithful supporter, 
became Master of the Ordnance and Keeper of the 
Armoury in the Tower of London. The king's activity 

1 He also obtaiaed a grant of the temporalities of the Bishopric of 
Salisbury, forfeited by the bishop's "many rebellions against the- 
king." 

2 He ■w'as also appointed " keeper of the Uons, lionesses, and 
leopards within the Tower," receiving for this office wages of 12d. 
a day, and 6d. a day for the support of each of the animals in his 
charge. — Materials for History of Reign of Henry VII., ed. Campbell 
(Rolls Ser.),i. 31. 



1483] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 87 

also showed itself in the disposition of church 
patronage all over England, from the appointment of 
a new Dean of the Chapel Royal at Windsor to the 
confirmation of the election of a new Abbess of Wilton. ^ 

All these acts of sovereignty were significant. By 
them Henry boldly asserted that his tenure of the 
Crown was independent of Parliamentary sanction. 
He even disposed of the estates of the rebels before 
they had been pronounced forfeited by Parliament,^ 
and arranged for the collection of the customs before 
Parliament had granted them to him.^ 

The Patent Rolls of this year show how rapidly and 
firmly the once landless exile took up the duties of 
royalty, with quick eyes and brain restoring order 
and checking waste. The new arrangements made 
in these first weeks of the reign for the management 
of the Crown lands show his business-like methods 
and grasp of financial detail.* Land was leased out 
at improved rents, " overseers of works and repara- 
tions " were appointed in many royal castles and 
lordships. He saw that the royal castles were put 
into the hands of faithful servants, appointed keepers 
of parks and forests, bailiffs of royal towns, and so on. 
Provision for sport was not overlooked. The king 
appointed foresters and masters of the game, ser- 

1 On 25th September, less than a month after Henry reached 
the capital, he founded a chantry " for the soul of the king and his 
mother and of their noble progenitors." 

^ Materials, i. passim. 

' Collectors of tonnage and searchers in the chief ports of the 
kingdom were appointed with instructions to confiscate all wool, 
skins, and leather that had not paid ctistom, gold and silver coins, 
bullion, jewellery and plate, as well as " letters and bidls pre- 
judicial to the king or his heirs." Ibid. 

* Extraordinarilyminute accounts were kept: "id. for divers things 
needful," is one of the entries. Materials, i. 230. 



38 HENRY VII [1*85 

geants of the hart-hounds in Somerset and Dorset, a 
" yeoman of the king's buckhounds," and a master of 
" the king's dogs called harriers." ^ There is evidence 
of considerable reorganisation of the royal house- 
hold.2 By the end of September the reins of govern- 
ment were fairly in the king's hands. Neither revenge 
nor weakness disfigured the first months of the reign. 
The past years of bloodthirsty violence were forgotten. 
On 24th September a general pardon had been 
issued, from which a few only of Richard's followers 
were excepted. Policy dictated the king's attitude ; 
there was trouble threatening in the North. Scotland 
was just emerging from barbarism under her chival- 
rous and enlightened king, James IV., who shared 
the traditional hostility to England. The unsettled 
conditions in England afforded him too tempting an 
opportunity to be resisted. On 25th September, the 
sheriffs and gentlemen of the northern counties were 
ordered to hold themselves in readiness to repel an 
anticipated Scotch invasion. The terms of the 
pardon proclaimed in the city of York on 8th October 
betrayed Henry's dread of the Scotch danger. The 

1 Materials, i. passim. A " master viner " at Windsor Castle 
was appointed at 6d. a day, and the same man became keeper of 
" the grete gardyne in Wjmdesore." Ibid., p. 69. 

" The clerk of the market of the king's household was appointed 
to hold office for life. Other men were appointed to provide, for 
a period of six months, the beef and mutton, salt and fresh fish, 
com, capons and fowls for the use of the household, horsemeat 
and litter for the king's stud, and so on. Esquires of the king's 
body were appointed for life at a salary of 50 marks yearly, and 
other posts filled about the same time were " a grome of his mouth 
in the cellar," and a keeper of beds within the castle of Windsor. 
Benedict Frutze became one of the king's physicians. One of the 
gentleman ushers was given the office of keeping " paradise, hell and 
purgatory " within Westminster Hall. Materials. 



1485] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 39 

proclamation stated that the men of the north " who 
have doone us nowe of late grete displeaser, being 
agenst us in the feld with the adversarye of us, enemy 
of nature and of all publique wele," were pardoned 
owing to their repenting their " defaultes " and being 
descendants of those who had fought and suffered 
for Henry the Sixth, and — ^here comes the real reason 
— " because they ... be necessarye and according to 
there dutie most defend this land ayenst the Scottes." 
The king was prepared to forgive them "almaner 
riottes, murders, tresons, felonyes, insurreccions, con- 
spiracies ayenst there liegaunces doone and com- 
mitted " before the 22nd day of September. On 
16th October a commission was issued to assemble 
men in the home and south-western counties. On 
20th October the men of Norfolk and Suffolk were 
ordered to be ready at an hour's notice.^ This ex- 
hibition of readiness to resist attack had the desired 
effect, and by 20th October the sheriffs of the northern 
counties were ordered to proclaim that the Scots, 
" understanding the king's politique and mighty purvi- 
aunce " had " withdrawen them silf and bee severally 
departed sore abasshed and rebuked." The northern 
gentlemen were thanked for their services and given 
leave to disperse. The danger was over for the time. 
Henry had made up his mind to be crowned before 
Parliament met. He meant to meet the repre- 
sentatives of the people as a crowned and anointed 
king, who had no need to wait for their sanction and 
acceptance. He was busy preparing for his corona- 
tion when the " sweating sickness," hitherto unknown 
in England, appeared in London. The disease was 
very virulent, " It was so sore peynfull and sharp 

1 Materiaie, i. 89, 93-4; Paston Letters, iv. 325. 



40 HENRY VII [1*85 

that the lyke was never harde of," but it ran its 
course rapidly, and the patient who survived the first 
twenty-four hours was almost certain to recover. It 
was extremely contagious and spread rapidly. Ac- 
cording to Hall, not one among a hundred escaped, 
and it carried off, among other victims, two lord mayors 
and six aldermen. The king withdrew to his manor 
of Guildford to be out of danger of contagion, but 
before the end of October the sickness had disappeared. 
Many have thought that the disease was brought to 
the crowded streets of the capital by Henry's foreign 
mercenaries.^ The visitation was popularly regarded 
as an omen of " a stern rule and a troubled reign." 
The preparations for the coronation were continued, 
and the capital looked forward to a spectacle which 
promised to be more brilliant than anything that 
had ever been seen before. On 19th October the office 
of Lord High Steward of England had been put into 
commission, and the elaborate preparations for the 
ceremony were made under the direction of the Earl 
of Oxford as Lord Chamberlain, Lord Stanley as 
Lord High Constable, and the Earl of Nottingham 
as Earl Marshal of England. A sparing distribu- 
tion of honours signalised the coronation. On 27th 
October, Jasper, Earl of Pembroke, was created Duke 
of Bedford, Lord Stanley was made Earl of Derby, 
and Sir Edward Coiu-tenay was raised to the peerage as 
Earl of Devon. On the eve of the coronation the king 
held a chapter of the Bath and created twelve new 
knights. On the 30th of October he set out from the 
Tower to Westminster to be crowned. The details 
of the forgotten scene can be reconstructed after a 

1 It is curious how little is known of the fate of Henry's Breton 
troops. 



1485] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 41 

lapse of four centuries.i The king, still in the 
splendour of his youth, made a magnificent figure. 
Over a doublet of cloth of gold and satin in the 
Tudor colours of white and green the king wore a 
" long gowne of purpure velvet, furred with ermyns 
poudred, open at the side and purfiled with ermyns, 
laced with gold and with taselles of Venys gold, 
Avith a riche sarpe and garter." He rode a charger 
with trappings of cloth of gold, and a golden canopy 
was held above him, " riding opyn-heded," by four 
noble knights. Seven horsemen, in crimson and gold, 
riding bareheaded and leading a spare charger, followed 
the king. His henchmen and footmen wore liveries of 
white and green, and there was a long line of heralds 
and trumpeters in their gorgeous clothing. The red 
rose of Lancaster and the crowned portcullis of the 
House of Tudor appeared everywhere. A minute 
description of the order to be followed at the ceremony 
has been preserved among the Rutland papers.^ The 
scene in the Abbey was full of colour and splendour. 
All the important posts at the ceremony were filled 
by the king's personal friends ; his sword was borne 
by the Earl of Derby, his crown by the Duke of 
Bedford, and his spurs by the Earl of Essex. He 
was supported on his right and left hand by the 
faithful Bishops of Exeter and Ely. The lost duchies 

^ See the Wardrobe Accounts printed in Materials, ii. 163-180, also 
the Privy Purse Expenses (Excerpta Historica). 

' The " device," as it was called, probably drawn up between 
27th and 30th October, was merely a draft submitted to the king 
for correction. The order of the queen's coronation is included, 
and the robes to be worn by her are described, a blank space being 
left for the insertion of the queen's name. Lord Lovell is set down 
as the bearer of the queen's sceptre. He was, of course, a fugitive 
exile long before the date of Elizabeth's crowning. Rutland Pa/pers 
(Camden Soc). 



42 HENRY VII [1*85 

of Guienne and Normandy were not forgotten, and 
mantles and caps of estate were borne to represent 
them. This brilliant scene inaugurated the era of 
symbolic pageantry characteristic of the House of 
Tudor. But the Lady Margaret "wept marvel- 
lously," partly for joy and partly from dread of 
the future.^ 

On the following day the king created Philibert 
Shaunde — whom Hall describes as " lord Chandew of 
Brittany, his especiall frende " — Earl of Bath. At the 
same time Edward Stafford was restored to the rank 
of Duke of Buckingham, and remained throughout the 
reign one of the most brilliant figures of Henry's court. 

According to contemporary writers the day of the 
coronation was marked by the formation of a royal 
bodyguard of fifty archers known as the Yeomen of 
the Guard.^ There is evidence, however, that the 
king formed this bodyguard immediately upon his 
arrival in London or possibly during his exile abroad.^ 
By surrounding his person with guards, in imitation 
of the practice of the court of France, the king em- 

' Fisher, Month's Mind of Lady Marg. (Early Eng. Text. Soc), 
p. 306. £1656, 18s. lOfd. was spent in gorgeous raiment for the 
coronation. The Wardrobe Accounts take us behind the scenes, 
and show us the material the king relied upon for his eHeots. 
Twenty-one tailors, under " George, the kinges taillour," and 
fifteen skinners had been working for three weeks — sometimes by 
the Ught of lanterns and Paris candles — ^in a room securely bolted 
and barred " for suerty and keeping of the kinges stuff." For the 
details of the coronation see Rutland Papers, pp. 3-24 ; Select Papers 
(ed. Ives), pp. 93-119 ; Fabyan, Chronicle, pp. 681, 683 ; Qrey Friars 
Chron., p. 24; Materials, i. pp. 92, 97-9, 178-84; ii. pp. 1-29, 
163-80. 

' Stow, Annales (ed. 1615), p. 471 ; Ital. Bel, pp. 39, 104, 105. 

^ In September a grant was made to a " yeoman of the king's 
guard " for his faithful service beyond the sea as well as on the 
king's " victorieux journeye." Materials, i. p. 8. 



1485] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 48 

phasised the royal dignity. Perhaps also " the crown 
upon his head had put perils into his thoughts." ^ This 
bodyguard, increased by Henry and maintained until 
his death, became a permanent appanage of English 
royalty, and the nucleus of the standing army.^ 

Between the coronation and the opening of Parlia- 
ment the king probably formed his council. Its com- 
position is significant. Henry called to the council \/ 
competent men of the middle class, upon whose grati- 
tude and obedience he could rely, as a set-off against 
the great nobles with their traditions of aristocratic 
defiance. The peers summoned to the council were men 
who, like the Duke of Bedford, the Earls of Oxford, 
Derby, and Devon, Lords Willoughby de Broke, 
Daubeney, Dynham, and Strange, were bound to the 
king by ties of blood or tried loyalty. Prominent from 
the first among the members of the council were two 
great churchmen — John Morton, Bishop of Ely, who 
became Archbishop of Canterbury in the following 
year, and Richard Fox, Bishop of Exeter, "vigilant \ 
men and secret, and such as kept watch with him 
almost upon all men else." ^ Other councillors who 
had shared the king's exile were Sir Richard Edge- 
combe, Sir Reginald Bray, who is described as " a 
very father of his country, a sage and grave person, 
and a fervent lover of justice," Sir Edward Poynings, 
and Sir Richard Guildford, both of whom had led 
risings against Richard III. Chesney, Tunstall, and 
Lovell and Sir William Stanley were men of the same 

1 Bacon, p. 35. 

" The yeomen of the guard were picked men upon whose devotion 
the king could rely. They were often given posts of responsibility, 
— the keeperships of royal castles, siirveyorships of ports, and so on. 
Their wages were fixed at 6d. a day. See Materials, passim. 

^ Bacon, p. 40. 



44 HENRY VII [1*85 

stamp. 1 The king occasionally summoned outsiders 
to the council to give their advice on special questions. 
This group of " occasional councillors," as Vergil calls 
them, included the Marquis of Dorset, the Earl of 
Shrewsbury, Thomas Earl of Ormonde, Richard ap 
Thomas, Morgan Kidwelly, Henry Marney, William 
Say, Master of the Horse, William Ody, Gilbert 
Talbot, William Udal, Thomas Troys, Richard Nanfan, 
formerly Governor of Calais, Robert Poyntz, James 
Hubert, Charles Somerset, Thomas Howard, Earl of 
Surrey, Henry Bourchier, Earl of Essex, William 
Blount, Lord Mohun, John Bourchier, John Fyneux, 
Peter Edgecombe, Hugh Conway, Thomas Tyrell, 
Henry Wyatt, Robert Throgmorton, Thomas Brandon, 
John Wingfield, Edmund Dudley, Edward Belknap, 
Richard Hemson, and others. Many of these men later 
played an important part in the events of the reign. 
Some of them were the founders of noble families, who 
served the State until the end of the Tudor dynasty. 
With the exception of Morton and Fox, and possibly 
of Bray, the members of the king's council were 
Henry's servants and nothing more. They owed 
everything to Henry's gratitude, and echoed rather 
than advised their master. Vergil suggests that Henry 
chose them in order that cases referred to them might 
be decided without the bitterness of conflict, or as 
Hall paraphrases it, " without great bearing or expense 
in long sute." There is no evidence of any dispute 
between king and council throughout the reign. Henry 
could trust it to carry out his orders and reflect his 

1 To these names, all of which are given by Polydor Vergil, 
Hall adds that of Sir John Risley, which is placed by Polydor 
Vergil among the ocoasionall councillors. Pol. Verg., op. cit., pp. 
566-67; Hall, Ghron., p. 424. 



1485] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 45 

personality. Lack of originality meant lack of oppo- 
sition; the former the king supplied, the latter he 
could not tolerate. From this docility it came about 
that the sphere of action of the council was greatly 
extended during the reign. It became the apt tool of 
despotism. 

On 7th November Parliament met. Proceedings 
began with an elaborate sermon by the Lord Chancellor, 
Thomas Alcock, Bishop of Worcester. Preaching on 
the text, Intende, prospere, precede et regna, he alluded 
to Agrippa who stilled sedition in Rome, reminded his 
hearers of the mutual duties of subjects and king, 
and spoke of Henry (who was present in person) as 
" a second Joshua, a strenuous and invincible fighter 
who was to bring in the golden age." ^ On the same 
day, following the usual custom, separate committees 
were appointed to receive and try petitions from 
England, Wales, and Scotland, and from Gascony and 
the lands beyond the sea. On Tuesday the Commons 
elected Thomas Lovell as their speaker, a choice 
very satisfactory to Henry, as Lovell had shared his 
exile, fought on Bosworth Field, was a member of the 
Council and Chancellor of the Exchequer. The king 
came down to the House on the following day, and 
made a short speech in which he declared that his 
right to the Crown and realm of England rested on 
" just title of inheritance and upon the true judgment 
of God as shown by the sword on the field of battle, 
giving him victory over his enemy." ^ At the same 
time he promised that all his subjects of whatever 

1 Rot. Pari. vi. 267, seq. 

^ The king's will mentioned " the Crown which it hath pleased 
God to give us with the victory of our enemy at our first field " ; 
Henry was aware that he had obtained his crown by conquest. 



46 HENRY VII [U85 

rank and condition should enjoy their lands and goods 
under his protection ; with the significant exception 
of "all such persons as had offended his sovereign 
majesty." The nature of this exception soon appeared. 

The Commons then granted tonnage and poundage 
at fixed rates, ^ with a subsidy on wool, wool-fells, and 
hides, to the king for life, " for the defence of the 
Realm and in especiall for the saufeguard and keeping 
of the See," an important proviso being added " that 
these Graunts be not taken in ensample to the Kinges 
of England in tyme to come." ^ 

Parliament then passed to deal with another matter, 
which, though of vital importance, had not been men- 
tioned in the writs of summons — ^the confirmation of 
the king's title. Henry was reluctant to appear to 
owe his crown to an Act of Parliament, and the 
importance of the matter had been studiously mini- 
mised. The vexed question that had involved two 
generations of Englishmen in intrigue and civil war 
was settled, as far as Parliament could settle it, by 
a simple act which stated " in covert and indifferent 
words," ^ " that the inheritance of the crowns of the 
realms of England and France, with all the pre-emi- 
nence and dignity royal to the same pertaining, be, 
rest, remain and abide in the most royal person of our 
now sovereign lord King Harry the Seventh, and in 
the heirs of his body lawfully coming perpetually 
with the grace of God so to endure and in none other." * 
The wording of the entail was a triumph for the king. 

1 The rates fixed were Ss. a ton on wine, and 12d. in the pound 
on other merchandise. 

2 Rot. Pari., vi. 269. The Hanse merchants were exempted 
from the operation of the Act, also the Staple merchants on con- 
sideration of their paying a fixed sum to the garrison of Calais. 

' Bacon, op. cit., p. 36. * Rot. Pari, vi. 270. 



1485] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 47 

He "would not endure any mention of the Lady 
Elizabeth," and succeeded in obtaining a limitation 
of the crown to his heirs without binding himself to 
marry the Yorkist princess. He escaped conditioning 
his kingship with an obligation which would have 
hinted at a crown matrimonial. An air of indifferent 
detachment, in which deep policy lurked, clothes the 
words in which Parliament recognised the pre-emi- 
nence of Henry's doubtful claim. 

The duchies of Lancaster and Cornwall were 
formally confirmed to the Crown, and the honour of 
Richmond annexed to it. An Act of Resumption 
restored to the Crown all lands belonging to Henry VI. 
on 2nd October 1455, gifts made since the beginning 
of the reign being excepted, and the rights of the 
king's mother and of Cecily Duchess of York being 
saved. Vast estates were thus restored to the king. 
While making this generous provision, the Commons 
took the opportunity to draw attention to an old 
grievance, the abuse of purveyance for the royal 
household. The king responded by initiating a 
measure of financial reform, which separated the 
money required for the expenses of the royal house- 
hold and wardrobe from the revenues of the State.^ 
Another Act reversed the attainders of the Lan- 
castrians passed in the reign of Richard III., it being 
provided that they should not enter into possession 
of their property until the session was over.^ The 
Act was a pressing necessity, as many of the men 
returned to this Parliament had been attainted and 
were legally disqualified from sitting, and the judges 
had given the decision that they were not to serve 

1 See below, p. 280. 

* The names recited in this biU extended to 94 lines of print. 



48 HENRY VII [1485 

in the House until their attainders had been reversed. 
The king himself was technically an outlaw, but the 
judges decided that the fact that he had taken upon 
himself the supreme authority purged him from the 
taint of outlawry, a decision which added to the 
growing theory of royal immunity.^ 

An Act of Attainder against the late king and his 
adherents followed, the preamble of which is vindic- 
tive enough, mentioning as it does the "unnatural, 
mischievous, and great perjuries, treasons, homicides, 
and murders in shedding of infants' blood, with many 
other wrongs, odious offences, and abominations 
against God and man, and in especial our said sovereign 
lord, committed and done by Richard, late Duke of 
Gloucester, calling and naming himself by usurpation 
King Richard the Thirde." By this Act Henry's 
reign was said by a legal fiction to begin on 21st 
August, the day before the battle of Bosworth, so as 
to bring within the net of treason all who had borne 
arms against him on that day. The attainted persons 
were therefore described in the Act as " traitourously 
conspiring the destruction of the king's royal person 
by assembling to themselves a great host on 21st 
August in the first year of the reign," a striking 
inversion of the real facts of the case. This expedient, 
though convenient at the moment, was a dangerous 
precedent to set. As the Monk of Croyland put it, 
" What security are our kings to have henceforth 
that in the day of battle they may not be deserted 
by their subjects ? " It has been described by one 
eminent historian as " a notorious lie and a blot upon 

^ All records, however, of the king's attainder were to be erased. 
The doctrine was that the Crown took away all defects and stops 
in the blood. 



1485] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 49 

the statute-book." ^ Its immorality is beyond doubt, 
though the casuistry dear to Henry might build an 
argument on the proclamations made by the king on 
his landing. He had boldly called himself king while 
his fate was still in the balance. This claim, endorsed 
by his victory at Bosworth, he logically continued in 
prosperity. His views, however, it must be confessed, 
underwent great modification when ten years of king- 
ship had given him sympathy for the position of the 
king de facto. The statute of 1495 is the best con- 
demnation of Henry's earlier attitude to Richard's 
adherents. Among those whose property was de- 
clared forfeited to the Crown under this Act of 
Attainder were the late king, the Duke of Norfolk, 
the Earl of Surrey, and Lords Lovell, Ferrers, and 
Zouche, and about twenty knights and gentlemen. 
The Act did not pass without some opposition, fruit- 
less, however, " for it was the king's pleasure." 

A few days later, on 19th November, the king 
appeared in person in Parliament, and an oath " for 
the reform of divers crimes and enormities " was 
taken by certain knights and gentlemen of the royal 
household, then by the members of the House of 
Commons. On the motion of the Lord Chancellor 
the House of Lords, consisting of the Archbishop of 
York with twelve bishops, seventeen abbots and 
priors, two dukes, eight earls, one viscount, and seven 
barons took the oath, each with his left hand on his 
breast and his right on a copy of the gospels. By the 
terms of the oath they swore not to " receive, aid, or 
comfort murderers, felons, or outlaws, not to reteine 
any man by indenture or othe, not to give liverie, 
signe, or token contrary to law, or make, cause to be 

1 Dr. Gairdner in L. and P. Hen. VII., ii., Intro, xxxi. 

D 



A 



50 HENRY VII [1485 

made, or assent to any maintenance, imbracerie, riotts, 
or unlawful assemblie, not to hinder the execution of 
royal writs, nor lett any known felon to bail or 
mainprise." ^ 

The oath taken with such solemnity was un- 
palatable enough. The nobles bound themselves to 
abjure their cherished weapons of riot and rebellion. 
It struck at the source of their power, and threatened 
to reduce them to the despised level of the obedient 
small men. The king, however, had the driving 
power of a strong will, and the prestige of recent 
victory behind him. The " much runyng among the 
Lords," recorded in a contemporary letter,^ ended 
in obedience. 

On the 10th of December, the king being present 
to prorogue Parliament, a petition of the Commons 
was presented by the Speaker, asking the king to 
marry the Lady Elizabeth of York. At once the 
lords spiritual and temporal rose in their seats, 
standing before the throne, and, bowing their heads, 
made the same request. All reference to Henry's 
earlier promise to make Elizabeth his wife was 
tactfully omitted, and the king briefly replied that 
he was willing to proceed according to their desire 
and request. Then, after a short speech from the 
Chancellor, urging them to take care in putting down 
violence and disorder, especially to repress the vaga- 
bonds who were " running about the country spread- 
ing discords and lies under colour of begging," 
Parliament was prorogued until 23rd January. 

This first session of Parliament had been an 
important one. Henry had clothed his conquest 

1 Rot. Pari., vi., 278; see also Rot. Pari., iv. 344, 422. 
' Plwrrvpton Correspondence (Camden Soc). 



148B-6] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 51 

with the forms of law. His adherents had been re- 
warded, and his enemies punished under strict legal 
forms. Violent usurpation and tyranny seemed to 
have given place to a dynasty wedded by choice and 
necessity, as well as by Lancastrian tradition, to a 
Parliamentary form of government. The session had 
had a reassuring effect upon the popular mind. The 
new king had shown strength of mind and purpose ; 
it was clear that he meant to be obeyed. Contem- 
porary writers were not blind to the promise of the 
new reign. " The king," wrote an Italian to the 
Pope in December, " shows himself very prudent and 
clement : all things appear disposed towards peace." ^ 

The king spent the rest of the month in London 
making preparations for his marriage. In addition 
he had the task of paying the late king's debts as 
well as his own. Among the former he redeemed a 
" salt of gold, a coronall of gold," and other plate 
pledged by Richard. Other obligations were more 
pressing, and Henry had to apply to the city for a 
loan of 6000 marks. Part of the money was applied 
to the release of the Marquis of Dorset and Sir John 
Bourchier, who were still in Paris as sureties for the 
money advanced to Henry by the King of France. 
Debts due in respect of the pay of the Calais garrison, 
and for armour bought for the king during his exile 
in France, were paid about the same time. 

Messengers had been sent to Rome to obtain bulls 
for the marriage, but on 18th January 1485-6, before 
the brief arrived, the long-delayed marriage was 
solemnised under a dispensation obtained from the 
Papal legate, James, Bishop of Imola. There is an 

^ Cal. of State Papers (Foreign Series), Venetian (ed. Brown), i. 
No. 506. 



52 HENRY VII [i486 

appearance of haste about this after the long delay. 
Perhaps Henry, with his instinct for catching the 
drift of public opinion, found his Yorkist supporters 
chafing at the delay.^ The marriage was received 
with many signs of popular approval. As Hall said, 
" By reason of this marriage, peace was thought to 
discende oute of heaven into England." ^ 

In one part of England the temper was anything 
but peaceful. The North, the stronghold of the 
Yorkist party, was restless and dissatisfied, and sedi- 
tion flourished dangerously near the Scotch border. 
In the county and city of York, the hostility to the 
new king was pronounced. The corporation had 
expressed its regret at the result of the battle of 
Bosworth, and had boldly resisted the king when 
their Recorder, one of the Yorkists exempted from 
the general pardon, had been deprived of office. A 
great agitation had been got up in his favour, which 
the king seems to have been either unable or un- 
willing to resist. He was reluctant to alienate the 
city, when trouble was threatening on the border,^ 
The state of feeling in York continued to give 
ground for uneasiness. On 24th December the king 
sent down a letter ordering a search to be made iri 

* The Papal bull confirming the action of the legate was dated 
6th March, and another bull was issued on 27th March excom- 
municating any one who rebelled against the king. Rymer, Foedera, 
xii. 294, 297-99. 

^ Upon Bacon's suggestion that the rejoicings were not liked by 
Henry, and that he showed himself " no very indulgent husband," 
an imaginative structure was subsequently reared. See below, p. 386. 

' After writing two letters to the city expressing his determina- 
tion to uphold the man who had replaced the dispossessed Becorder, 
suddenly within three days (30th November to 3rd December) the 
king changed his m ind and sent down a, writ de rum molestando. 
Gentleman's Magazine (New Series), xxxv., 1851, pp. 164^70. 





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ELIZABETH OF YORK 
Queen Consort ot Henry VH 
1466—1502 
From the painting, by an unknown artist, in the National Portrait Gallery 



1486] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 53 

every household in the city every night, beginning at 
eight o'clock, for " vagabonds, idlers, beggars, and 
suspect persons," ^ A truce was made with Scotland 
on 30th January 1485-6 which removed the most 
pressing danger, but as soon as Henry was able to 
leave London, after the dissolution of Parliament, he 
determined to make a royal progress through the 
disaffected districts. He started early in March, with 
all the great nobles of his court in his train, and 
rode by way of Cambridge, where he was honour- 
ably received by both the town and the univer- 
sity, through Huntingdon and Stamford to Lincoln. 
There he kept Easter Day devoutly, washing the 
feet of twenty-nine poor men, and giving alms to 
the poor, to the prisoners and lepers. At Lincoln 
he heard that Francis, Lord Lovell, and Humphrey 
and Thomas Stafford had fled from Colchester, where 
they had remained in sanctuary since the battle of 
Bosworth, and that no one knew to what part of the 
country they had gone. Henry, however, " lytle 
regardyng the tale," continued his progress, and 
advanced, " without any bay ting bycause they died 
at Newark," to Nottingham, which he reached on 
Tuesday, 11th April.^ Then he heard the news of 
a rising in Yorkshire. He hastily summoned the 
men of Lincoln to his standard, ordering them to 
come unarmed, evidently underrating the importance 
of the rising, and advanced to Doncaster, where he 
stayed over Sunday. Just beyond Doncaster he was 

1 Gentleman's Magazine (New Series), xxxv., 1851, pp. 169-70. 

" Sir Hugh Conway is said to have given the information to the 
king, who " said it could not be so, and reasoned always to the 
contrary with him," being much displeased that Conway did not 
give the name of his informant. L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 234. 



54 HENRY VII [i486 

joined by the Earl of Northumberland, who brought 
all the territorial influence of his great family to the 
king's side. Henry reached Pontefract on Monday 
and stayed there until Thursday, 20th April, and 
daily large numbers of the local magnates, who had 
hastily armed at the news of the revolt, joined him. 
On his advance towards York, the king heard that 
Lord Lovell was about to attack the city, and that a 
simultaneous attack was to be made upon Worcester 
by the Staffords, who had got together a large force. 
It was a critical moment. Henry was in great danger. 
His men were not equipped for war, and he was close to 
a city which had been the heart of the Yorkist cause, 
and was still devoted to King Richard's memory.^ 
Henry, however, acted promptly. The Duke of 
Bedford was despatched at once with 3000 lightly 
armed men to attack Lovell. When he came upon 
the insurgents he proclaimed that all who laid down 
their arms and submitted would be pardoned. The 
proclamation took the heart from Lovell's host, and, 
deserted by their leader, who fled in the night into 
Lancashire, they laid down their arms and surrendered 
to the duke.^ At the news of Lovell's failure, 
Himaphrey Stafford gave up the plan of attacking 
Worcester, and fled with his brother to sanctuary 
near Abingdon. The Court of King's Bench, however, 
decided that the right of sanctuary would not cover 
men accused of high treason. This important ruling, 
which deprived traitors of their chief refuge against 
the power of the Crown, led to the Staffords being 

1 Gera. Mag. (N. S.), xxxv. 481-83. A plot to seize the king 
just escaped success. 

2 VergU and Hall credit the duke with the idea of this proclama- 
tion. Pol. Verg., p. 569 ; Hall, p. 427. 



1486] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 55 

taken out of sanctuary, and removed to the Tower. 
Humphrey Stafford was executed at Tyburn. His 
younger brother Thomas was pardoned, as it was 
decided that he had been led into the rebelUon by his 
brother. Lovell remained in hiding, and early in the 
following year fled to Burgundy. 

Henry advanced in triumph to York, which he 
reached on 22nd April. Five miles out of the city 
the mayor and aldermen rode forth to meet him, 
and a great crowd of citizens welcomed him with 
shouts of " King Henry — King Henry ! Our Lorde 
preserve that swete and well faverde face." There 
were many pageants in honour of his arrival, the 
" King Solomon " of one of them addressing the 
king as " most prudent prince of provid provision, 
sovereign in sapience," and so on. Another displayed 
a royal rich red rose, and a rich white rose crowned 
coming out of a cloud with the other flowers " lowting 
low." The city was gorgeously adorned with tapestries, 
and from the windows hailed down " comfetts as it 
had been haylstones." ^ The king's generosity in 
announcing that he would not expect the customary 
present of money from the city owing to its poverty 
led to a lavish present of provisions being enthusi- 
astically voted. ^ After a Te Deum in York Minster, 
the king withdrew to his lodging in the archbishop's 
palace. From York Henry moved through Doncaster, 
Nottingham, and Birmingham to Worcester, where 
he spent Whitsuntide, being received with the usual 
shows and pageants. One orator, having compared 
him to Noah, Jason, Julius Caesar, Abraham, Isaac, 
Jacob, David, and Scipio, welcomed him as the 

1 Leland, Collectanea, iv. 185; Oent. Mag. (N. S.), xxxv. 481-85; 
Surtees Soc. Public, vol. 85, pp. 53-7. " Ibid. 



56 HENRY VII [1*86 

lineal descendant of Cadwallader, " the very Britain 
king " ! After visiting Hereford and Gloucester, the 
king proceeded to Bristol, then the second or third 
city of the kingdom. As he rode through the city a 
woman threw down wheat from her window, crying, 
" Welcome and good luck ! " Again he was received 
with pageants, but the orators on this occasion spoke 
in a less heroic and more practical strain than usual, 
bewailing the decay of Bristol, which they thought 
was due specially to the decline of the navy and the 
decay of the cloth trade. The king showed his 
sympathy with their complaints and gave audience 
to the mayor and aldermen, encouraging them to 
build new ships to make up for their heavy losses 
during the last five years. On the following day 
Henry left for London, leaving behind him golden 
opinions, the mayor saying that " they harde not this 
hundred yeres of noo king so good a comfort." ^ On 
the 5th of June the king came by water from Sheen 
to the capital and, being welcomed home by the mayor, 
had a Te Deum sung in the Abbey. 

About this time he received an embassy from 
Scotland, and after their departure the king left 
London. He was at Sheen on 12th August,* and 
afterwards went westwards to hunt in the New 
Forest. In September Henry was in Winchester, and 
there, on the 20th of the month, his son and heir was 
born.^ This important event was celebrated by Te 
Deums and processions, and by lighting bonfires in the 
streets. The babe was christened on the following 

1 Leland, CoUectcmea, iv. 185-200. 
' Paston Letters, in. 329. 

' Andrd, Vita, p. 41 ; Leland, Collect., iv. 204 ; Pol. Verg., p. 569 ; 
Hall, p. 428. 



1486] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 57 

Sunday with great pomp, receiving the name of Arthur 
in honour of the mythical Celtic ancestor of the House 
of Tudor. ^ Winchester Cathedral was hung with arras, 
the prince being borne to the font under a crimson 
canopy by the Lady Cecily, the queen's eldest sister. 
The infant wore a mantle of crimson cloth of gold, 
trimmed with ermine, with a long train borne by Sir 
John Chesney and the Marchioness of Dorset.^ When 
the queen had recovered from an attack of ague (to 
which she was always subject) the court moved to 
Greenwich and remained there over Christmas. The 
king's position was infinitely stronger after the birth 
of an heir, who fused the claims of the rival royal 
houses. The new dynasty had its hand on the future. 

But it was only on the surface that there was peace. 
The leaders of the Yorkist party were discontented ; 
the union of the roses had brought them no profit, the 
chief offices of state and the king's confidence had 
been bestowed upon Lancastrians, and the delay in 
the queen's coronation aggravated their dissatisfaction. 
The country was full of strange rumours that fed 
the hopes of the Yorkists. The claims of the im- 
prisoned Earl of Warwick were a topic of discussion 
as early as November 1486,^ and a sinister rumour 
spread that the king was to be another King Richard, 
and that he proposed to murder the boy. Another 
report was that one of the sons of Edward IV. was 
still living. " Thus," says Bacon, " was fuel pre- 
pared for the spark that afterwards kindled such a 
fire and combustion." 

It was at Oxford that the spark of sedition was lit. 

1 Leland, Collectcmea, iv. 204^6. 

' The king is not mentioned as being present. 

' Plwmpton Oorresp., p. 54. 



58 HENRY VII [U87 

The rumour that the young Duke of York still lived 
bred in the " fantastieall ymagination " of a priest 
named Richard Symons the idea of making one of his 
pupils personate him. This pupil was Lambert Simnel, 
" one of gentle nature and pregnant wit," and though 
of poor parentage " not without extraordinary dignity 
and grace of aspect." ^ The later report that the young 
Earl of Warwick had escaped, and the rejoicings with 
which this rumour was received, led Simon to change 
the boy's role to that of the Earl of Warwick. He suc- 
ceeded in instilling into the boy sufficient knowledge 
of " princely behaviour, civil manners, and fruitful 
literature " to deceive the important Yorkists, to 
whom he was afterwards presented, who were perhaps 
not inclined to scrutinise too closely the pretensions 
of a pretender who served their purpose. The priest 
showed great skill in the place he chose for the first 
appearance of his protege. The leading men in 
Ireland were devotedly Yorkist,^ and the nobles, with 
Celtic enthusiasm, instantly accepted the boy on his 
arrival in January 1486-7 as the young Earl of War- 
wick. This " feigned fable and ymagined juggling " 
was passed from one to another and accepted as truth. 
The Earl of Kildare, who was Lord Deputy and the 
most powerful man in Ireland, espoused the boy's 
cause and lodged him in his castle. His brother, the 
Chancellor, joined, and men, arms, and money poured 
in.^ Messengers were sent to the Yorkist party in 
England, and to the Dowager-Duchess of Burgundy 
to enlist her sympathy. 

1 He was probably the son of an organ-builder {Garew Papers, 472), 
though his father is elsewhere described as a carpenter, a baker, and 
a tailor, Bot. Pari, vi. 397 ; Aiidr6, Vita, 49. 

2 See below, p. 291. ' Oarew Papers (Misc.), 388, 472-4. 



1487] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 59 

The court of the dowager-duchess had long been 
a refuge of fugitive Yorkists.^ As the sister of 
Edward IV., she was consumed with hatred of the 
House of Lancaster. " Inflamed with malyce dia- 
bohcall she invented and practised all mischiefes, 
displeasures, and dammages that she could devyse 
against the Kyng of England." ^ She had " the 
spirit of a man and the malice of a woman," says 
Bacon. Wealthy and childless, she was ready to 
devote the whole of her very considerable ability to 
an attempt to overthrow Henry VII., " against whom 
she bare a mortal hatred." In her " fury and frantike 
mood " she promised to help the conspirators. 

The affair had reached this point when news that 
a pretender had been set up against him in Ireland 
reached the king. Henry was then at Sheen, where on 
2nd February 1486-7 he held a council to decide on the 
necessary measures of precaution.^ The murmuring 
and discontent in England had already led to a few 
rebels being proclaimed, among others Sir Henry 
Bodrugan, who had been stirring up sedition in Devon 
and Cornwall.* On the news of Lovell's escape, 
Henry decided to issue a general pardon for all 
offences, even for high treason, to all who submitted. 
There could be no greater proof of the king's uneasi- 
ness. His throne was undermined by a conspiracy 
he was not strong enough to punish. He tried, 
therefore, to detach some of its supporters by this offer 
of a pardon. As a second measure of precaution the 
captive earl was to be led through London to expose 

1 The latest arrival was Lord Lovell, who had fled there in 
January. 

" Hall, Chron. p. 430. ' Leland, CoUectcmea, iv. 208. 

' L. and P., ii. 369 ; Paeton Letters, iii. 329. 



60 HENRY VII [1487 

the imposture of the claimant in Ireland. A third 
measure, an unexpected and mysterious one, was 
decided upon at this council. It was directed against 
the queen-dowager. Her jointure lands were con- 
fiscated, a pension of 400 marks only being allowed 
her, and she was assigned apartments in the abbey 
of Bermondsey.^ No cause was publicly assigned 
for these proceedings. The vague expression, " for 
various considerations," used in the Act certainly 
shrouds a mystery. Various suggestions of the cause 
of the queen's disgrace have been put forward. Vergil 
states that it was the punishment of the queen's 
treachery to Henry in surrendering her daughters 
to King Richard. His authority, though constantly 
first-rate on matters of fact, is not always to be 
followed on the question of the king's motives. 
This betrayal had been long since condoned. The 
queen-dowager's estates had been restored by Henry's 
first Parliament, and she had since enjoyed the king's 
favour. Hatred of the House of York, the motive 
suggested by Bacon and those who followed him, 
may also be dismissed. Henry was too cautious a 
man to attack a prominent Yorkist at this inop- 
portune moment without other motive than blind 
hatred of a family to which he had shown honour in 
the person of his queen. ^ It is more reasonable to con- 
nect her disgrace with the conspiracy then on foot, 
and to suppose that she may have been implicated 
in it to some extent. She was certainly an indiscreet, 

» Materials, ii. 148-9, 265, 302 ; Privy Purse Expenses of Eliz. o/ 
York, ed. Nicolas, Intro. Ixxvii.-lxxix. 

' This hypothetical hatred, too, did not prevent Henry from 
granting the queen-dowager's forfeited lands to the queen. The 
grant was confirmed by Henry's second Parliament. Rot. Pari., 
vi. 386. 




MARGARET OF YORK 
From the picture in the possession ot the Society of Antiquaries 



1487] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 61 

capricious woman. No evidence, however, survives 
to connect her with the plot, and the question cannot 
be decided. A balancing of probabilities remains. 
No legal proceedings were taken against her, but the 
fact that no reason was assigned for her retirement 
and the forfeiture of her property hints at a desire 
to hide the fact that those near the king's person were 
implicated in the plot, and perhaps to spare the queen 
consort the disgrace. ^ 

At this moment the conspirators gained over a 
very important convert, John de la Pole, Earl of 
Lincoln. He had been chosen as his heir by Richard 
III., and though he had been received into favour 
by Henry, was ill content with the loss of his brilliant 
prospects. Thwarted ambition made him join the 
plot. For some time he wore the mask of loyalty, 
and was actually present at the Council held at Sheen, 
but a little later he, with Sir Thomas Broughton and 
others of less note, fled to join Lovell at the court of 
his aunt, the Duchess Margaret. 

The king returned to London, and on the Sunday 
following the Earl of Warwick was taken from the 
Tower along the principal streets of the city to St. 
Paul's, where many of the nobles suspected of com- 
plicity in Simnel's conspiracy were given an oppor- 
tunity of talking to him. After Lincoln's escape, 
the king ordered that strict watch should be kept 
along the east coast to prevent the escape of other 
traitors, and to guard against invasion from Flanders. ' 
Commissions of array were issued on 7th April and 

' Vergil's account of the queen-dowager as spending the rest 
of her life in misery seems to be slightly overdrawn. Three years 
later her annuity was increased (Pat. 5 Hen. VII., m. 20) and she 
afterwards appeared at court. Leland, Collectanea, iv. 249. 



62 HENRY VII [1487 

the beacons were set in order. ^ Leaving London in 
the second week in Lent the king made a tour through 
the eastern counties that were nearest to the 
threatened danger. He rode through Essex to Bury 
St. Edmunds in Suffolk, and thence to Norwich, where 
he kept Easter. ^ There he heard that the Marquis 
of Dorset was coming to him to explain and excuse 
" certeyne thynges he was suspected to have done 
lightely while he was in France." Henry thought it 
best, however, to be on the safe side, and ordered the 
Earl of Oxford to conduct him to the Tower. On 
Easter Monday the king made a pilgrimage to the 
famous shrine at Walsingham, and then leaving the 
eastern counties rode by way of Cambridge, Hunting- 
don, and Northampton to Coventry, which he reached 
on 22nd April. On the following day he kept the 
Feast of St. George with great ceremony. The Papal 
bulls " touching the king's and the queen's right " 
were read, and those who resisted Henry were cursed 
with bell, book, and candle. 

Meanwhile in Flanders the conspirators were ready 
for action. Lincoln and Lovell appear to have decided 
that it would be wise to support the Irish rebellion. 
Lincoln's attitude in taking up the cause of a boy 
whom he must have known to be a pretender, has been 
explained by the theory that he meant to use Simnel 
as a catspaw, and if the revolt succeeded to remove 
him to make way for a new Plantagenet.* Two 

^ On 4th March Thomas Brandon was put in command of an 
armed force " about to proceed to sea against the king's enemies 
there cruising." Materials, ii. 104, 106. 

" Both Polydor Vergil (p. 572) and Hall (p. 433) give Christmas 
instead of Easter, an obvious mistake. See Collectanea, iv. 209. 
The corrected draft for Vergil's history preserved in the Vatican 
Library gives the right date. Hist. Soc. Trans., Ser. II., vol. xvi. 1-17. 

' Polydor Vergil, op, cU., p. 572. 



1487] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 63 

thousand German mercenaries had been got together 
by the help of the duchess, and early in May the 
whole force sailed for Ireland under the command 
of one Martin Swart, landing on 5th May. Practi- 
cally the whole country, with the important exception 
of Waterford, which remained loyal to Henry, had 
espoused the cause of the pretender, and on 24th May 
Lambert Simnel was crowned King of England in 
Dublin Cathedral under the title of Edward VI. He 
was afterwards taken in procession through the 
streets of Dublin and received with great enthusiasm. 
The bishops and nobles took an oath of allegiance 
to him. Writs were issued for a Parliament in the 
name of the crowned adventurer, and new coin, 
struck in June, bore the name of Edward VI. Con- 
fident of success, Simnel and his supporters were eager 
to try their fortune in England. In June the pretender, 
" with a great multitude of beggerly Irishmen allmost 
all naked and unarmed savynge skaynes and man- 
telles," under Lord Thomas Fitzgerald, sailed for 
England. They landed on the coast of Lancashire 
— near Furness Fells — on 4th June, hoping to join 
forces with Sir Thomas Broughton. 

The king was at Kenilworth when he heard — from 
a loyal Irishman, the lord of Howth^ — ^that Lincoln 
and Lovell had landed in Ireland.^ He at once sent 
some of his nobles to raise troops in their own 
counties, thinking " he should be well enough able 
to scatter the Irish as a flight of birds, and rattle 
away this swarm of bees with their king." ^ 
At Kenilworth he was joined by the queen, the 
Countess of Richmond, and the Earl of Ormond, 

1 Original Letters (ed. EUis), i. (1), 18. 

^ Bacon, op. cit,, p. 53 ; Materials, ii. 135. 



64 HENRY VII [1487 

and there the landing in Lancashire was reported to 
him by one of the horsemen he had sent to watch 
the western coast. The Duke of Bedford and the 
Earl of Oxford were given command of the royal 
forces. Very stringent proclamations were made to 
secure good order among the troops. Sacrilege and 
violence were forbidden on pain of death, there was 
to be no forcible levy of provisions, no fighting or 
quarrelling in the host, no shouting or blowing of 
horns after the watch was set, and so on. At the 
same time no one was to be molested on the pretext 
of any offence formerly committed against the king.^ 
From Kenilworth Henry returned to Coventry, where 
he was joined by a large force under the Earl of 
Devon. Thence he marched to Leicester and Lough- 
borough, where the " stokkes and prisones were 
reasonabley filled " with offenders against the pro- 
clamations. Meanwhile Lincoln had led his men into 
Yorkshire and " passed softely on his journey without 
the spoilyng or hurtyng of any man." He did not 
meet with the increase of strength he had hoped for, 
and continued his advance towards Newark. Henry 
had marchSfl to Nottingham, where he was joined by 
a large force " inow to have beten all the king's 
enemies." Thursday and Friday nights were en- 
livened by " a great skrye or false alarm which caused 
many cowards to flee." On Saturday morning, 16th 
June, the king rose early and, after hearing two 
Masses, led his host to cut off the foe on the road to 
Newark. Before nine o'clock he had reached Stoke, a 
village a mile out of the town, where he met the rebel 
army. The battle was fiercely contested ; the German 
veterans under their experienced leader and the half 
'■ Leland, CoUectanea, iv. 210-12. 



X487] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 65 

savage, rudely armed Irishmen, fought desperately. 
For three hours the issue of the fight was doubtful, 
but rebel valour was no match for the royal artillery 
and the victory lay with the king.^ 

The desperate nature of the struggle appears from 
the fact that nearly all the rebel leaders — ^Lincoln, Lord 
Thomas Fitzgerald, Sir Thomas Broughton, and Martin 
Schwartz — with about four thousand of the rank and 
file, perished. Lovell disappeared after the battle and 
his fate is a mystery.^ The loss on the king's side 
was not nearly so heavy. His victory was signalised by 
the creation of thirteen knights banneret and fifty -two 
other knights, among them being Sir John Paston of 
the Paston Letters. Lambert Simnel and the priest, 
Richard Symons, were both captured dm-ing the 
battle. The latter passed from the page of history 
into lifelong captivity, but his tool was treated by 
Henry with contemptuous lenience. The boy who 
had been crowned with great pomp as Edward VI. 
of England became a scullion in the king's kitchen 
and afterwards one of the royal falconers. It was 
novel treatment for a defeated pretender. Henry's 
scornful clemency was judicious, and the presence of 
Simnel in the royal household kept alive a " continual 
spectacle " and galling reminder of the fate of un- 

' It appears that only the vanguard of the king's army had 
come into action. Rot. Pari., vi. 397; Carew Papers, 189; Hari. 
MS.. 541, fo. 218 6. 

* Vergil says that he was killed in battle, another authority 
that he fled and was drowned while trying to cross the Trent, a 
third story is that he lived a long time in concealment in » secret 
room at Minster Lovell, where he died. See Andr6, Vita, pp. 49-52 ; 
Leland, Collectanea, iv. 209-13 ; Pol. "Verg., pp. 574-5, for accounts 
of the battle. Lovell's attainder was " ignorauntly lefte oute and 
omitted " in the Parliament that followed. ^ He was not attainted 
until 1495. Rot. Pari, vi. 502. 



66 HENRY VII [1487 

successful imposture. Once again, many years later, 
the boy is heard of, when he appeared as cup- 
bearer to a party of Irish lords. The king, with one of 
his occasional flashes of ironic humour, sent a message 
that " their new king, Lambarte Simnel, brought 
them wine to drink and drank to them all." All 
shrank from the cup except the loyal lord of Howth.^ 

A report of the king's defeat had been carried to 
London, and so great was the panic that the Lieu- 
tenant of the Tower offered the keys of his prison to 
the Earl of Surrey, who, however, chivalrously refused 
to accept his liberty from any but the king himself. 
Henry appreciated his fine spirit, released him soon 
after the rebellion, and later sent him north against 
the Earl of Northumberland. Surrey repaid the 
king's confidence by his subsequent devotion to his 
cause.^ There had been disorderly scenes in the 
capital, the sanctuary men committing many out- 
rages.^ This brought into prominence a great abuse, 
and in a letter dated July 5, Henry appealed to the 
Pope to limit the right of sanctuary. His letter 
quoted the appalling fate of a man who had scoffed 
at Papal edicts and immediately fell dead, " his face 
and his whole body became blacker than soot." He 
also asked for a bull of excommunication against the 
Irish prelates who had supported the pretender.* 

Henry's uneasy mind seems to have been bent on 
discovering the truth about the late rebellion. He 
knew that the ground was mined beneath him. A 
few months of apparent respite had been followed by 

1 See below, p. 297. ^ L. and P. Hen. VII., ii., Intro. Iv. 

' L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 94-6 ; Col. of Venetian, Papers (ed 
Brown), No. 519 ; City Ghron. (ed. Kingsford), p. 194. 

* The bull was issued by the Pope on 6th August following. 
Rymer, xii. 332-4. 



1487] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 67 

a plot which grew so swiftly and dangerously that 
it had forced him to fight for his crown on the field 
of battle. The death of the Earl of Lincoln, from 
whom he hoped to have discovered the details of the 
conspiracy, left him in the dark. After three days 
at Lincoln, he set out on a progress through York- 
shire, making searching inquiries and sending out 
spies in an attempt " to purge his land of all sedicious 
seede and double-hearted fruit." Many executions 
followed, those less deeply involved being punished 
by heavy fines. After visiting York, he continued 
his progress or judicial circuit northwards as far as 
Newcastle. He reached Newcastle in August, and 
remained there for a time, despatching an embassy 
into Scotland. He returned south in the autumn, 
again visiting York and receiving a French embassy 
at Leicester.! On 4th November he entered London 
in triumph, and rode through the city to St. Paul's 
to give thanks for his victory. His wife and mother, 
"being secretly in a house by Bishopsgate," watched 
the king pass in triumph and then retired to 
Greenwich. 

On 9th November 1487 the king met his second 
Parliament, which had been summoned by writs 
issued on 1st September. Proceedings began with a 
speech from Morton, now Archbishop of Canterbury 
and Lord Chancellor, on the text, Declina a malo, 
et fac bonum, inquire pacem et prosequere earn. On 
the following Monday the king confirmed the election 
of John Mordaunt as Speaker. 

The Act of Attainder against those implicated in 
the rebellion was a long one. The preamble recited 
the treachery of John, Earl of Lincoln, dating its 
1 See below, p. 73. 



68 HENRY VII [1487 

commencement from 19th March 1485-6. Twenty- 
eight other persons, of whom the most important 
were Sir Henry Bodrugan, Sir Thomas Broughton, 
Thomas and James Harington, and John Beaumont, 
were attainted of high treason and their lands and 
goods forfeited. 1 The legislation of this Parliament, 
which included the famous Star Chamber Act, will 
be considered below. ^ Early in the session Parlia- 
ment had granted the king two fifteenths and tenths, 
and a subsidy from aliens resident in England.^ The 
object of the grant was stated to be " the hasty and 
necessarie defence of this youre Realme " ; foreign 
difficulties had arisen. 

Before the end of the year the long-delayed corona- 
tion of the queen took place. Heiury's position was 
now so secure that the coronation would not appear 
to be a necessity forced upon him by Yorkist dis- 
content. As an act of grace there was no reason 
for further delay, and the date was fixed for 25th 
November. Henry's young and lovely queen was 
the central figure in a succession of brilliant scenes. 
On Friday the queen came from Greenwich by water, 
followed by the mayor and liverymen in gaily deco- 
rated barges, the one attracting most notice being 
the " Bacheler's barge " with its great red dragon 
" spowting flamys of fyer into Temmys." Elizabeth 
landed at the Tower, where she was welcomed by the 
king in a way that was " right joyous and comfortable 

1 Rot. Pwrl., vi. 397-400. The Diike of Svifiolk was speoiaUy 
exempted from the operation of the Act against his son. The first 
Act of this Parliament confirmed the letters patent granting the 
queen-dowager's forfeited lands to the queen, the second Act gave 
the queen right of action in her own name. 

2 See Chapter VII. 

' See below, p. 274. 



1487] ENGLAND AT THE ACCESSION 69 

to behold." There is a contemporary word picture 
of the young queen being borne through the streets 
of the city in a Utter covered with cloth of gold, 
reclining on " pillowes of Downe covered with like 
Clothe of golde," royally apparelled in robes of white 
and gold, furred with ermine, " fastened with a great 
lace curiously wrought of golde and silke and riche 
knoppes of gold at the end tasselled . . . her faire 
yelow hair hanging down pleyne behynd her bak 
with a caul of pipes over it," and a circlet of 
gold, richly garnished with precious stones, on 
her head. Singing children, arrayed like angels and 
virgins, greeted her as she passed on her way to be 
crowned in Westminster Abbey. A banquet in West- 
minster Hall followed the ceremony, and the gorgeous 
attire of the nobles is enthusiastically described by 
the herald. Two of the queen's ladies, we are told, 
" went under the table, wher they satt on ether side 
the queene's fete al the diner time." The king and 
his mother " sat priveley " on a stage built outside 
one of the windows of the Hall to watch the pro- 
ceedings. At the end the queen departed " with 
Godd's blessing and to the rejoysing pf many a true 
Englishe mannes hert." The " great besynesse " of 
Parliament put a stop to further celebrations.^ 

1 Select Papers (ed. John Ives), pp. 120-156; City Ohron., p. 194; 
HaU, p. 438. 



CHAPTER III 

FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 

Henky was now to be faced with difficulties from 
outside, hitherto fortunately absent. England for 
a long time had played no important part in foreign 
affairs, prestige had gone with the French conquests, 
and the Wars of the Roses had absorbed all the 
fighting strength of the country. The nice balance 
of affairs in Europe, however, and the activity of 
national rivalries gave Henry an opportunity of 
proving the recovered strength of his country, and 
regaining the influence that waits on power. The 
theory of the universal rule of Pope and Emperor over 
the whole of Christendom was exploded, and escaping 
from the bonds of Papacy and Empire, the separate 
states of Europe pursued their individual ambitions. 
Many of them had just fused their elements into 
unity, rulers and kings were fired by dynastic ambi- 
tions. At no time did personality count for more 
in diplomacy. The personal characters of the kings 
who ruled the striving powers influenced the whole 
course of history. It was an age when the whims 
of the ruler were of more account in negotiation 
than the wishes of a people, when marriage alliances 
and dynastic considerations overruled international 
hatreds and the traditions of history. This or that 
ambitious prince set himself to modify the map of 

70 



1485] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 71 

Europe. Territorial ambitions were extraordinarily 
keen. 

It was an atmosphere which suited Henry ad- 
mirably, and in which he proved himself no mean 
match for his dexterous opponents — Ferdinand, King 
of Spain, and Maximilian, King of the Romans. 
Ferdinand of Aragon was undoubtedly one of the 
ablest men of the time. He had great ambitions and 
took a wide and general view of the course of European 
politics, using his unmatched diplomatic skill to play 
upon international rivalries for his own purposes. He 
was constitutionally inclined to crooked methods and 
was incurably suspicious. In his ambitions he was 
ably seconded by his wife, Isabella of Castile, who 
showed the curious union of a narrow and rigid piety 
with considerable statesmanship. 

Maxinailian was the stormy petrel of Europe. He 
was a man of restless ambition, always bent on sacri- 
ficing substance for shadow, the prosaic reality of 
authority in Germany for glittering dreams of uni- 
versal rule. Though not personally base, he was 
utterly unreliable ; he was volatile and mercvu-ial, 
incurably hopeful and incessantly active ; he took 
up giants' tasks only to throw them down like a 
light-hearted child. ^ To the steady, cautious, tena- 
cious Henry, with whom fate frequently threw him 
into contact, he makes the most extraordinary con- 
trast, and this perhaps embittered the* undercurrent 

• In the words of the late Bishop of Oxford's brilliant sketch, 
he was " the most delightfully unprincipled hero of the age of transi- 
tion ; always in every feast and every fray, always wanting money 
and selling himself for promises, and never getting the money and 
never keeping his engagements ; a good deal of the rake, and a good 
deal of the knight-errant." Stubbs, Lectures on Medieval and Modern 
History, p. 387. 



72 HENRY VII [uss 

of mutual hostility. Maximilian was typical of an age 
which is the blurred boundary line between modern and 
medieval Europe. " Just as from him the Austrian 
monarchy begins, so with him the Holy Empire in its 
old meaning ends." ^ He was the heir of the Empire, 
and the founder of the mighty house of Hapsburg. 

Forces in Europe were very evenly balanced, 
and several foreign princes showed considerable 
anxiety to secure Henry's friendship. Other foreign 
powers were marking time, waiting to see whether 
Henry was strong enough to keep the crown he had 
won. France had from the first shown her friendly 
intentions, and within a few days of Bosworth 
field a truce for one year between England and 
France had been signed. At the moment Brittany 
focussed the eyes of Europe. French ambition 
was awake. The terrible struggle with England and 
the foresight of Louis XI. had called a nation out 
of chaos. The borders of France had been extended 
and the great vassals subdued. Brittany alone held 
out, and upon Brittany, Anne of France, the capable, 
energetic regent, had set covetous eyes. A pretext 
for interference was the shelter given by Duke Francis 
to the Duke of Orleans, the discredited leader of 
the French opposition. A French invasion was 
threatened, and it was clear that Brittany alone 
could not hope to resist her formidable neighbour. 
The old duke, casting about for an ally, baited his 
hook with the hand of his elder daughter and heiress, 
Anne. Already the bait had attracted the needy 
and adventurous Maximilian. At the moment he 
was hopelessly involved ; he had only just forced 
the reluctant Flemish states to recognise him as ruler 

' Bryce, Holy Roman Empire. 



1486-7] FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1485-1492 73 

of Burgundy in the right of his young son Philip, and 
in the spring of 1486 he had been elected to the lofty 
claims and empty honours of the King of the Romans. 
In March 1486, he, however, concluded a treaty in 
which he guaranteed the independence of the duchy 
in exchange for the hand of its heiress, while his son 
Philip was to marry her younger sister. Two other 
suitors for the duke's young heiress were also in the field 
— the Duke of Orleans, and Lord D'Albret, a powerful 
Gascon noble. They were included in this league.^ 

In 1487 a French army invaded Brittany and be- 
sieged Nantes. The town held out stoutly, and in 
August the French were compelled to raise the siege 
and make a treaty of peace. Maximilian as usual 
had done little to help, owing to renewed difficulties 
in Flanders, where resistance to him was encouraged 
by France; but his alliance, though a thing of 
httle practical value to Brittany, had made France 
anxious to find a makeweight, and in September an 
embassy was despatched into England, which met 
the king at Leicester on his return after his stay in 
the north. The ambassadors explained that their 
king was making war against the Duke of Brittany 
on account of the help given by him to the rebel 
Duke of Orleans. They pointed out the danger 
of neighbouring princes being allowed to succour 
each other's rebels — an obvious truth of which Henry 
had just had ample evidence — and asked Henry to 
join France in the war, or at least to preserve a strict 
neutrality. As to the question of the annexation of 
Brittany, the ambassadors tactfully " bare aloof from 
it as from a rock." 

1 Of Anne's three suitors one -was a widower, another was abeady 
married, and a third was old enough to be her father. 



74 HENRY VII [1486-7 

Henry's position was rather delicate ; he owed a debt 
of gratitude to both France and Brittany, and his per- 
sonal history had emancipated him from the century- 
old tradition of hostility to the former. One of the first 
acts of his reign had been the arrangement of a truce 
with his " most derest cousyn Charles of France," on 
12th October 1485, replaced on 17th January 1485-6 
by a three years' treaty, negotiated by Oliver King, 
which ensured freedom of intercourse.^ The natural 
bent of the king's mind was peaceful. " A fame of war 
he liked well," says Bacon, " but not an achievement." 
He preferred the arts of diplomacy, in which he was 
conscious that he excelled. Further, his position in 
England made the preservation of peace more than 
desirable. The nation craved for rest, the old martial 
spirit of the country was suffering an eclipse after two 
generations of civil war. Time was healing the 
smarting sore of the loss of the French conquests, and 
the traditional hatred of the old enemy France had 
been merged in the bitterness of civil strife. Thus 
many things seemed to force the king's hand, and 
to point to a favourable reception of the proposals 
of the French ambassadors. But, on the other 
hand, it was difficult to ignore the tradition of 
alliance with Brittany, and the claims her sovereign 
had on his gratitude. The treaty signed on 22nd 
July 1487, a long and detailed document, which 
provided for peace and complete commercial inter- 
course during the lives of the duke and King Henry, 
and for one year afterwards, bore a much more 
permanent air than the French treaty.^ Moreover, 
it was obvious that the alleged cause of the attack 

' Rymer, xii. 277, 278, 281 ; Materials, i. 192, 199, 602 ; BroWn, 
Venetian Col., i. No. 506. " Rymer, xii. 30S-12. 



1487] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 75 

on Brittany was but a cloak for French ambition. 
Though the old hostility to France slumbered it was 
not dead, and no English king, however enlightened, 
could afford to ignore it and acquiesce in the disap- 
pearance of Brittany, and a menacing addition to 
the power of France. 

After a long consultation in search of a conclusion 
"that coulde satysfye or pleas hys doubtfuU mynde 
and gentle harte, lothe to offende anye of them, of 
whom he had receaved eyther benefite or friendship," ^ 
Heniy found a loophole of escape from a difficult 
position in the suggestion that he might promise to 
remain neutral, and thus perhaps exercise considerable 
influence without offending either party. ^ His almoner, 
Christopher Urswick, who knew something of both 
countries, was sent to France in May. His offer was 
accepted in France but rejected in Brittany, where, 
owing to the duke's illness, he was received by the 
Duke of Orleans. The latter " made an answer in 
somewhat high terms," refused the offer of mediation, 
and appealed to the king, "for his safety and re- 
putation," not to allow Brittany to be swallowed up 
by France, and " his continuell enemyes to be next to 
the gate of his realme." The embassy left the duchy 
without accomplishing much, and the French again 
laid siege to Nantes.^ Henry continued his efforts 
to mediate, and sent a second embassy, consisting of 
the Abbot of Abingdon, Sir Richard Edgecombe, and 
Christopher Urswick, through Brittany into France. 

Meanwhile the king was employed in preparing a 

1 Hall, Chron., p. 437. 

" Brittany and Maximilian had their ambassadors still With 
Henry at Windsor in May. Paston Letters, iii. 344. 
» Hall, op. cit., p. 438. 



76 HENRY VII [1488 

fleet under Sir Charles Somerset, in which many 
Spanish vessels were included, and for which supplies 
had been voted by Parliament, to proceed against 
" the king's enemies then congregating on the sea." ^ 
The object presumably was to give weight to his 
self-suggested position as mediator, but at this 
moment his carefully guarded neutrality was im- 
perilled by the hasty action of some of his subjects. 
The anti-French and warlike feeling ran high in the 
council, and Lord Woodville, the queen's uncle and 
governor of the Isle of Wight, suggested that he 
should be allowed to take a force over to the assistance 
of the duke. " The kinge," we are told, " woulde 
in nowise geve the brydle to hys hote, hasty and wilde 
desire," ^ but, in spite of his express prohibition, 
Woodville raised a force of 400 men in the Isle of 
Wight, and secretly embarked at Southampton in 
a Breton ship. He captured a French merchantman 
on the way across the Channel, and placed himself as 
a " valyaunt captaine and bolde champion " in the 
service of the duke. There was naturally a great 
outcry in France at Henry's apparent treachery, and 
feeling reached such a pitch that Christopher Urswick 
was in personal danger.^ Lord Woodville's indiscre- 
tion therefore drove Henry from his neutral position 
and made it necessary for him to conciliate France. 
He offered the most ample apology for Woodville's 
exploit, and on 14th July 1488 accepted his ambas- 

1 Pat., 4th May, 3 Hen. VII., Part II., m. 3, d. ; 'ibid., 16th June, 
3 Hen. VII., Part I., m. 6, d. ; L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. App. 369-70. 

^ HaU, p. 439. 

^ Bacon's suggestion that the king did not really dislike an 
enterprise he pubholy disavowed is not supported by the evidence. 
Woodville's action seriously hampered the king's negotiations. 
Paatxm Letters, v. 367 ; Pol. Verg., p. 578 ; Hall, p. 440. 



1488] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 77 

sador's action in renewing the treaty with France 
until January 1491-2.^ Thus Henry was forced 
against his will to commit himself to France.^ The 
ambassadors returned by way of Brittany, where they 
made another fruitless effort to bring about a settle- 
ment, hostilities being suspended from the 1st to 
the 26th of June. Before the end of the month, 
however, events took place abroad which roused 
English feeling by threatening the inunediate ab- 
sorption of the duchy. On 28th July ^ the French 
troops utterly defeated the Bretons at the battle of 
St. Aubin. Woodville and most of his Englishmen 
fell, the Duke of Orleans was taken prisoner, and on 
31st August Duke Francis was forced to sign a most 
disadvantageous treaty, by which he surrendered 
several important towns as pledges and agreed not 
to give his daughter in marriage without the consent 
of " his sovereign lord the King of France." He 
promised to expel the foreign troops and not to 
harbour the enemies of France. 

Nine days later he died, leaving his daughter Anne, 
then aged twelve, as heiress of the distracted duchy.* 
The French at once claimed the wardship, but their 
claim was resisted, the Marshal de Rieux acting as 
the young duchess's guardian. War therefore began 
again in Brittany. It was obvious that the end of 
it all would be the conquest of Brittany unless the 

1 Rymer, xii. 344. 

' Bacon (pp. 73-4) suggests that Henry made the double mistake 
of under-estimating the strength of France and over-estimating that 
of Brittany, and considers that his neutral position was a fail\are. 

' Hall says Monday, 27th July, but a contemporary letter 
written the day after the battle gives the 28th as the date. Morice, 
Hist, de Bretagne, iii. 594 ; Busoh, p. 44, n. 1. 

* His younger daughter died soon after this. 



78 HENRY VII [1488 

young duchess could find help outside. It was useless 
to expect assistance from Maximilian. He had been 
a captive in the hands of the rebel Flemings from 
February until May, when he was released under 
humiliating conditions which outraged the feeling 
of Europe. To avenge his treatment he was now 
engaged with his father's assistance in a war of 
retaliation. Henry of England had just committed 
himself to a French treaty, the Duke of Orleans was 
a prisoner. The duchess's fortunes were at a low 
ebb, when the whole situation was changed by the 
entrance of another power into the struggle. 

This power was Spain, which was then first be- 
ginning to rise to the position of one of the great 
powers of Europe. Under the strong rule of Fer- 
dinand the recently united kingdoms of Aragon and 
Castile had been consolidated and their turbulent 
nobility reduced to obedience. The monarchy was 
established upon a sound financial basis, and 
strengthened by the monarchical tendencies of the 
Inquisition, which began its reign of terror in 1481. 
It is a tribute to Henry's sagacity that he realised 
the potential strength of the Spanish monarchy, and 
made immediate efforts to win its alliance. He was 
both conscious of the comparative unimportance of 
his country in Europe, and personally anxious to 
secure his dynasty by an alliance with one of the 
royal houses of Europe. There was no bitter legacy 
of mutual hatred and rivalry between England and 
Spain, and there was the link of friendly commercial 
intercourse. To Spain therefore the king turned in 
the hope of finding an ally who would neutralise the 
effect of the French successes in Brittany. In March 
1488 an embassy, consisting of Christopher Urswick, 



1488] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 79 

Savage, and Aynsworth, set out for Spain with powers 
to conclude a treaty of peace and commerce. The 
reception of the embassy was extremely encouraging, 
and shortly after they arrived in Spain we hear for 
the first time of the marriage project which was to 
absorb many years of diplomacy. 

The suggestion of a marriage between the infant 
Prince of Wales and Ferdinand's youngest daughter 
Katherine probably originated with Henry. It is 
first mentioned in the commission given to de Puebla, 
the Spanish ambassador, on 30th April 1488, but 
Henry's envoys must have received verbal instruc- 
tions to make such a proposal, as de Puebla speaks 
of them as having been the first to solicit the marriage, 
and Henry was obviously very keen on it. Thus 
opened the long diplomatic duel between Henry and 
Ferdinand, in which both parties used the sordid 
weapons of cunning and chicanery and spent them- 
selves in mercenary hagglings over marriage portion 
and dowry. The preliminary negotiations offered 
delusive hopes of a speedy settlement of the question. 
The principle of a matrimonial alliance was accepted, 
and a Spanish envoy was sent to England on 30th 
April 1488 to discuss details. " Te Deum Latidamus ! " 
exclaimed Henry, hearing that the envoy had power to 
conclude a treaty and a marriage alliance ; but he soon 
discovered that he would have to pay a formidable 
price for the alliance. The course of these early 
negotiations brings out the inferiority of Henry's posi- 
tion. The Spanish ambassadors allowed themselves 
a sinister hint as to the instability of Henry's throne. 
" Bearing in mind what happens every day to the 
Kings of England, it is surprising that Ferdinand 
and Isabella should dare to give their daughter at 



80 HENRY VII [1488 

all." 1 De Puebla's vivid account preserves the bar- 
gaining between the commissioners as to the amount 
of the dowry. Henry tried in vain to induce the 
Spanish merchants in London to become security for 
the payment, and Ferdinand to provide her with her 
trousseau and jewels. Henry's anxiety for the con- 
clusion of the treaty appeared from the practical 
sacrifices he was willing to make for it, though re- 
luctant to let his inferior position appear. He showed 
special favour to the ambassadors, said the most 
flattering things of Ferdinand and Isabella, " every 
time he pronounced their names taking the measure of 
his bonnet," and granted licenses to Spaniards at the 
request of his " beloved Doctor de Puebla." ^ The 
ambassadors, on Henry's suggestion, made a journey 
to see the baby Prince of Wales and discovered in 
him " such excellent qualities as are quite incredible." 
Beyond these courtesies, however, the king was un- 
willing to go. The draft of the treaty and alliance 
drawn up on the 8th of July, which provided that the 
princess was to receive a dowry of 200,000 gold scudos 
and be endowed with one-third of the revenues of 
Wales, Cornwall, and Chester, contained no promise 
of Henry's to make war on France at the bidding of 
Spain. The special envoy left for Spain to obtain 
his master's ratification, which was of course withheld, 
and an embassy from England to settle the details 
of the alliance followed. 

Ferdinand was bent upon recovering the two 
provinces of Rousillon and Cerdagne ceded to France 
in 1462, and Henry was to be his cat's-paw in this 
attempt. The critical situation in Brittany opened 
up a prospect of succeeding in this aim, without 

' Bergenroth, Cal. of Spanish Pa/pers, i. No. 21. ^ nj^ 



1488] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 81 

diverting his forces from the Moorish war in Granada. 
The Spanish plenipotentiaries stipulated that Henry 
should promise to join Spain in a war against France, 
and not to make peace without the inclusion of 
Spain. Spain in return promised to include England 
in any peace she made. These terms were so ob- 
viously unfavourable to England that Henry's agents 
hesitated to agree to them, and were not daunted 
by hints that the Spanish alliance was much more 
important to the King of England than the latter' s 
was to Spain. Their national pride seems to have 
been roused to protest against embodying in writing 
an arrangement so derogatory to their sovereign's 
dignity. " It was not permissible, just, or honest," 
they said ; " the King of England had received many 
services from the King of France." They suggested, 
however, that their master might be willing to agree to 
these terms, if they were made the subject of a verbal 
agreement and not set down in writing. " Such 
things were more justifiable and honest when done 
than when written," they said.^ This sophistry 
alarmed the Spaniards, and the English agents had 
to reassure them by taking a solemn oath before the 
crucifix that it was Henry's intention to conclude the 
alliance and marriage, and then make war upon 
France for the recovery of RousUlon and Cerdagne, 
" according to the King of Spain's bidding." Then 
followed weary months of negotiation, when disputes 
about the princess's dowry, trousseau, and travelling 
expenses were used by each power to veil attempts 
to get the other committed to its own view. In 
fact the interests of the would-be allies were prac- 
tically conflicting. Ferdinand wished to push the 

^ Bergenroth, Oal. Span, Papers, p., 9. 



82 HENRY VII [1488 

peaceful Henry into war for the recovery of his lost 
provinces ; Henry hoped to gain the prestige of the 
Spanish alliance without venturing on a war with 
France, or, if he found that impossible, to bind down 
Ferdinand to give Brittany some substantial help. 

In October, when negotiations in Spain were still 
in progress and there seemed little hope of an alliance, 
Henry made overtures to the Duchess Anne, the basis 
of the proposal being that the duchess should marry 
the Duke of Buckingham. It may be that the sug- 
gestion alarmed Ferdinand, at all events it was 
obvious that the limits of Henry's concessions had 
been reached, and the Spanish offers were slightly 
modified. To counterbalance the claim of the King 
of Spain to retreat from the war as soon as his two 
provinces were restored, the English were offered a 
similar right of withdrawal on the cession of Guienne 
and Normandy. But this modification brought no 
real equality in the terms ; France might possibly 
restore Rousillon and Cerdagne to Spain, the state 
to which they originally belonged, but the cession of 
Normandy and Guienne to her old enemy involved 
a surrender of French pride to which nothing short 
of absolute conquest would drive her. These altered 
instructions were sent to de Puebla on the 17th 
of December. At the same time he was ordered to 
dissuade Hem-y from the Brittany marriage scheme, 
and to point out that it would alienate two of the 
duchess's most powerful supporters, Orleans and 
D'Albret. The king seems to have thought that the 
Spanish alliance was worth the price he had to pay 
for it, but he did not disguise his irritation from 
de Puebla. He spoke of his obligations to the King 
of France, and of the many friends he was losing by 



U88] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 83 

not acting in concert with France, but expressed his 
intention of sacrificing them in order to come to an 
imderstanding with Spain. The overtures to the 
duchess were abandoned. On the 11th of December 
Thomas Savage and Richard Nanfan were despatched 
to Spain, with power to conclude a marriage alhance. 
Ambassadors from MaximiUan, offering to make a 
treaty with Henry on any terms provided he promised 
to help the duchess with a powerful army, had 
been in England some time. On the same 11th pf 
December another embassy left England to try and 
bring about the better understanding with Maximilian 
which Ferdinand had advised. In the first year 
of his reign (2nd January 1485-6 ^) the treaty of 
Edward IV. with Burgundy had been renewed for a 
year, but the depredations of Flemish pirates con- 
tinued to be a source of complaint,^ and the shelter 
and assistance given to Yorkist conspirators by the 
Dowager-Duchess of Burgundy gave Henry just 
ground for hostility, which he only abandoned under 
pressure from Ferdinand.^ The embassy despatched 
to Maximilian in December concluded a defensive 
alliance on 14th February 1488-9.* The embassy 
which left England for Spain on 11th of December 
was directed to go on to Portugal to revive the 
ancient treaty made by Richard II. in 1387, and 
bestow the Order of the Garter upon the king. Little 

1 Rymer, xii. 320-1. 

" See the complaints in January 1488, Materials, ii. 233-4, when 
reprisals were authorised. See also Oely Papers (Camden Soc). 

^ In July 1481 he was expressing to the Spanish ambassador, 
de Puebla, his refusal to make any treaty with MaximiUan. 

* Rymer, xii. 360. On the same date (llth December), Henry 
despatched five separate embassies, including one to Philip, Duke 
of BurgTindy. 



84 HENRY VII [U88 

came of this at the moment beyond the confirmation, 
on 18th August 1489, of the treaty, but it initiated 
the policy of playing off Portugal against Spain, 
which Henry in later and stronger days pursued with 
some success. 

On the same 11th of December Christopher Urs- 
wick, at the head of another embassy, was despatched 
to Charles VIII. to ask him to desist from the war in 
Brittany and to make another offer of English media- 
tion. He was instructed to warn him that if he 
persisted in his designs, Henry was going to send 
troops to support Brittany, which had formerly been 
a subject and vassal of England and had always been 
friendly to England, "which message," we are told. 
King Charles " dissimuled as little to regarde as the 
by ting of a flee." 

The ambassadors, Sir Richard Edgecombe and 
Henry Ainsworth, sent into Brittany on 11th of 
December, took advantage of the duchess's necessities 
to drive a very hard bargain. Henry had hoped at 
first to save the duchy by negotiation ; but, though 
driven by self-interest to take up arms in her de- 
fence, he was not the man to champion the duchess 
without receiving the market value of his services. 
He promised to send a force of 6000 men from 
Portsmouth in February to protect the duchy 
until the following feast of All Saints, but re- 
quired and obtained the surrender of two towns 
with their castles as securities for the repayment of 
the expenses he had incurred. Further, the duchess 
agreed, after the expiration of the Anglo-French 
truce, to help Henry, if called upon, to recover Nor- 
mandy, Gascony, or even the crown of France. No 
treaty was to be made by Anne without Henry's 



1489] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 85 

approval except treaties with Maximilian or Ferdinand, 
and the duchess was to swear not to marry without 
Henry's consent.^ These terms were agreed to on 
10th February 1489, and four days later the treaty 
with Maximilian was signed. Thus the foundations 
of a great anti-French coalition were laid. It was a 
recognition of the value of the balance of power and 
an attempt to maintain it by a league of European 
powers against any nation that threatened to disturb 
the status quo, which anticipated the principle under- 
lying diplomacy from the sixteenth century until the 
present day. 

The king had spent the summer and autumn 
hunting in comparative tranquillity which was dis- 
turbed by the unexpected turn of events in Brittany. 
In November a Great Council had been summoned 
to consider measures for securing the safety of the 
duchy, and Hem-y began to push on preparations for 
war. In December 1488 commissions of array were 
issued for troops to be sent to the assistance of 
Brittany, and all through this month and in January 
musters were being taken.^ Men were being im- 
pressed in London to make bows and arrows for the 
king's service, and Henry announced to the Papal 
collector, Gigli, in January his intention of defending 
the " orphan duchess " with all his might.* 

On 13th January Parliament met. Henry found 
that there was a strong feeling in favour of supporting 
Brittany, and that the deep-seated hostility to France 

1 The drafting of this treaty is a good example of Henry's fore- 
sight. His men were to be sent over and back in ships provided 
by the duchess and at her expense, and the provisions as to the 
delivery of the pledge towns were very elaborate. Rymer, xii. 
362-9. 

« Materials, ii. 384-7, 395. » Brown, Venet. Cal., i. No. 650. 



86 HENRY VII [1489 

could be profitably played upon. Bacon manu- 
factures a speech for Morton which speaks of the 
vanished greatness of England, of the once dependent 
confederates, Burgundy and Brittany, already partly 
lost, of the danger that the island would be " confined 
in effect within the salt waters," a prospect galling 
enough to the minds of those who hankered after the 
lost conquests of Henry V. As the peroration of 
the speech expressed it, " You know well how the 
kingdoms about you grow more and more in great- 
ness, and the times are stirring and therefore not fit 
to find the king with an empty purse." 

On 8rd February Parliament granted the king a 
subsidy of £75,000 towards the £100,000 required to 
provide an army of 10,000 men for a year, " ayenst 
the auntient enymies of this Realme and for the 
defence of the same," and authorised a similar levy 
for the two following years if the war still continued. 
This was an enormous grant, nearly three times as 
large as a fifteenth and a tenth, and forty-one days 
were spent in deliberations before the Commons could 
screw themselves up to the vote. The exceptional 
nature of the grant was emphasised. It was not to 
be taken as a precedent, as it had been made owing 
to the great necessity of the time in order to accelerate 
the payment. The money was to be raised by a levy 
of one-tenth on all incomes and a tax of 8d. on every 
ten marks of personalty. After a long discussion it 
was agreed that the balance of the £100,000 was to 
be contributed by the clergy.^ 

^ Eot. Pari., vi. 420-4. No sign of the ■' much alacrity and for- 
wardness" mentioned by Bacon (p. 82) appears. Hall and Vergil 
mention the grant without comment. Pol. Verg., op. cit., p. 579 ; Hall, 
Ch/ron., p. 442 ; Witkins, Concilia, iii. 625-6 ; Materials, ii. 424-5, 452. 



14893 FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 87 

On 27th February Parliament was prorogued until 
October 14th. Henry continued his preparations 
for the assistance of Brittany, collecting a force 
to sail in the spring. Some of his subjects, not 
willing to wait, went on at once to Brittany, 
throwing themselves into Morlaix, which was being 
besieged.! 

Henry's lack of enthusiasm for the war was justified 
by a sudden revelation of the smouldering disaffection 
which menaced the safety of his throne. " The harsh 
and bitter fruit " of the subsidy had still to be 
gathered, and " on a sudden, the people grew into a 
great mutiny." Disturbances in the city of York^ 
were followed by resistance to the levy of the subsidy 
in the counties of York and Durham. The people 
" greatly grudged and murmured," and declared that 
they would not* pay one penny of the huge sum now 
required of them. Their resistance was stiffened by 
the adherence of discontented Yorkists. The royal 
collectors complained to the Earl of Northumberland,^ 
who wrote to the king asking for directions. Henry's 
spirit always rose in an emergency, and he never 
showed less weakness than when confronted by the 
" base multitude." Northumberland was ordered by 
the king to proceed at once to raise the money by 
distress or otherwise, " and by compulsion to enforce 
suche to payment as whyned moost at it." * Opposi- 
tion to the levy could not be overcome, and, led by 
one John a Chambre, " a simple fellow," the people 

1 See Paston Letters, v. 355. 

^ Gent. Mag. (N. S.) vol. xxxvi., 1851, gives a full account of the 
disturbances. 

' He was one of Richard's supporters who had been made Warden 
of the Scotch Marches and Sheriff of Northumberland in 1488. 

* HaU, p. 443. 



88 HENRY VII [1489 

broke into open rebellion. Northumberland's attitude 
showed weakness; a fight took place between the 
malcontents and the earl's men near Thirsk, and the 
earl and many of his followers were killed. The re- 
bellion under the leadership of Sir John Egremont, who 
had Yorkist leanings, spread and called for the king's 
presence. The terms of a curious proclamation have 
been preserved bidding the men of the north assemble 
to " geynstonde such persons as is aboutward for 
to dystroy owre sufferyn Lorde the Kynge and the 
Commouns of England, for suche unlawfuU poyntes 
as Seynt Thomas of Cauntybery dyed for." Henry 
sent the Earl of Surrey northwards in command of 
troops. On 30th April he wrote from the castle 
of Hertford ordering artillery to be sent forward 
against his " unnatural subgietes in the north partes 
. . . whose sedicious purpose we with Gode's mighte 
entende breefly to subdue in owre persone." ^ On 
10th May gunners, smiths, and carpenters were being 
impressed and the king's tents repaired,^ and on 
22nd May he went northwards himself. 

The rebels attacked York on 20th May, but " having 
no leaders and little credit," * lost courage as Surrey 
advanced. " Their hartes were in their heeles and 
their stomackes coulde as any stone." They dis- 
persed in all directions, but did not escape Henry's 
summary vengeance. John a Chambre was hanged 
at York on a high gibbet " lyke an archetraytoure," 
and his accomplices were executed " on lower gibbets 
round about their master." Sir John Egremont suc- 
ceeded in escaping and made his way to Flanders. 
Sir Richard Tunstall was left in the north to see to 

1 Leland, Collect., iv. 246. ' Materials, ii. 447-8. 

^ Report of Papal Envoy, 9th May, Brown, Venet. CaL., No. 553. 



1489] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 89 

the collection of the subsidy, and the Earl of Surrey 
was given the late earl's office of Warden of the 
Scotch Marches. 

Leaving everything quiet Henry returned south- 
wards, spending Whitsuntide at Nottingham and then 
returning to hunt in Windsor Forest.^ The king had 
apparently triumphed, but of the large grant made in 
February only about £27,000 was collected. Appa- 
rently resistance was encountered all over England, 
though there was no other open disturbance. 

Of the adventures of the important embassy which 
left London for Spain on the 11th December we know 
a good deal, thanks to the narrative of the Richmond 
herald. He has given a detailed account of their 
stormy voyage from Southampton, which took nearly 
a month, in two Spanish ships ; of their journey 
through Spain to Medina, which they reached on the 
14th March ; and of the details of the Queen of Spain's 
rich dresses (one worth 200,000 gold crowns on the 
herald's estimation), of the mumbled speech of the 
bishop, " who was old and had lost all his teeth," 
of the court balls and joustings and bull-fights, of 
the appearance of " notre princesse d'Angleterre," 
attended by fourteen maidens, and of the bull-fight 
at which the " princess of Wales " assisted sitting 
on her mother's knee,^ but of the actual negotiations 
we know little. They ended in the treaty of Medina 
del Campo, which was ratified on 28th March 1488-9 
by Ferdinand and Isabella. General provisions 
securing mutual protection and free commercial inter- 

• Leland, Collect., iv. 246. Andre's account (pp. 47-9) contains 
verses on the death of the earl. He places it before the Lambert 
Sinmel conspiracy. 

'' Memorials (Rolls Ser.), pp. 157-84. 



90 HENRY VII [U89 

course were followed by an agreement, which provided 
for the marriage of Arthur and the Infanta when they 
reached a suitable age, the dowry of the latter being 
fixed at 200,000 crowns (4s. 2d.), half of which was 
to be paid on her arrival in England and half of it 
two years later. The terms of the alliance with regard 
to the French war were laid down. No hostile steps 
were to be taken until after 19th January 1490, when 
the truce between France and England expired. One 
of the clauses provided that as Henry had concluded 
a truce with France until 19th of January, he should 
not call upon Spain to make war with France during 
this truce, but that both parties should be free to 
make a new truce with France, on 19th January 1490, 
or within a year afterwards, unless at that date 
England was at war with France. At first sight it 
appeared that Henry held the key of the situation. 
The apparent fairness of this provision, however, was 
more than counterbalanced by the clause making the 
cession of Rousillon and Cerdagne or of Normandy 
and Guieime the conditions for the withdrawal of 
Spain and England from the war, the former being 
a probable, the latter almost an impossible con- 
tingency. It was a case of diamond cut diamond. 
Henry appeared to the Spaniards as already at war 
with France, but as he did not consider himself a 
belligerent, he secured for himself the freedom of 
choice in the time for making war, which Ferdinand 
hoped to deprive him of. Thus the practical effect 
of the clause was slight.^ It was open to France to 

^ The exact value of this clause and of the sophistical interpreta- 
tions of it open to both Ferdinand and Henry have been discussed 
at length by Dr. Busch and Dr. Gairdner. Busch, Henry VII., 
pp. 330, 435-8. To put it briefly, Ferdinand wished to be able to 



1489] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 91 

buy off Spain at the price of a comparatively small 
cession, leading England to maintain single-handed 
the huge task of a war of conquest or make what 
terms she could. In spite of this, Henry could look 
upon the treaty as a great victory for his diplomacy. 
The title of his dynasty was recognised by a treaty 
which provided for a marriage between a Tudor prince 
and a princess of the Spanish royal house, and 
England's weak and isolated position was improved 
by the prestige of such an alliance even on rather 
unequal terms. No proof, however, has been found 
that the English envoys, Thomas Savage and Richard 
Nanfan, had authority to accept these terms, and the 
treaty as yet bound no one. It had not been ratified 
by Heiu-y, who delayed in the hope that something 
might turn up to improve his position and modify 
the bargain. He demanded that the princess should 
be sent over to England, and that half her marriage 
portion should be paid within four years, obviously 
raising difficulties to gain time.^ Thereupon the 
signatures of Ferdinand and Isabella were cut off 
from the copy of the treaty. 

Henry seems to have considered that he could 
give considerable help to Brittany, in accordance 
with his treaty with the duchess, without violating 
the truce with France. In April 1489, 6000 English- 
men under Lord Willoughby de' Broke and Sir John 
Chesney landed in Brittany, occupied Guingamp and 

postpone his entrance into the war until 1490, and to gain by this 
clause the power of making Henry go to war at his bidding, which 
the King of England had refused to promise pubUoly though ready 
to swear to privately. See Mng. Hist. Review, viii. 353. 

1 According to Dr. Busch, public opinion in England did not 
incline to the war with France, but Henry was pushed into it by 
his eagerness for the Spanish alliance. 



X 



92 HENRY VII [1*89 

Moncoutour, which were evacuated by the French, and 
besieged Concarneau. The troops were well-disci- 
plined and were joined by many of the Breton nobles, 
the duchess in Rennes being guided by the advice of 
Sir Richard Edgecombe.^ So far Henry's measures 
were prospering, but a quarrel between the young 
duchess and her guardian, the Marshal de Rieux, 
introduced fresh complications into the situation. 
De Rieux wished her to marry the powerful Gascon 
noble, D'Albret, and in May sent an embassy to 
Henry suggesting that if he helped to bring about 
the marriage D'Albret would assist the English in 
a war to recover Guienne. The lady, however, 
refused to accept her suitor, who was old enough 
to be her father. Henry did not interfere in the 
way De Rieux hoped, but he alienated the duchess 
and her party by continuing to negotiate through 
De Rieux instead of with Anne directly. 

In Burgundy, however, he was giving her valuable 
help by co-operating with her ally Maximilian in 
accordance with the treaty of the 14th February. 
The rebellious Flemings, assisted by France, were 
still holding the combined forces of Maximilian and 
the Empire in check. The French, under the com- 
mand of Lord D'Esquerdes, were engaged in the siege 
of Dixmude, and their operations appeared to threaten 
Calais.^ Lord Morley was sent with 1000 men, 
ostensibly to protect the fortress. He soon took the 
offensive, and on the night of 10th June secretly entered 
Flanders, with a force of about 2000 men from the 

1 See letter of Henry VII. dated Hertford, 22nd April. Paston 
Letters, iii. 357. 

' In the autumn before there had been rumours of a French 
plot to take the city. Brown, Ven. Gal, No. 636. 



1489] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 93 

garrisons of Calais, Hammes and Guisnes under the 
command of Lord Daubeney, in addition to some 
600 Germans. They reheved Dixmude on 13th 
June, after a hotly contested action, in which Lord 
Morley fell — the news of his death leading to a great 
massacre of French and Flemings — drove the French 
out of Ostend, burning part of the town, and took 
the guns and the rest of the spoil to Niuport. Ac- 
cording to Hall " the field was profitable to the 
Englishmen, for they that went forth in clothe came 
home in sylke, and they that went out on foote came 
home on greate horses." Lord Daubeney retired to 
Calais, leaving a small garrison with many sick and 
wounded at Niuport. There they were attacked by 
Lord D'Esquerdes and very hard pressed. The 
French had actually entered the town when a ship 
arrived from Calais with eighty archers, to whom the 
women of the town " cryed with lamentable and loude 
voyces, ' Helpe, Englishmen ! ' and themselves helped 
so valiantly by cutting the throats of the Frenchmen 
whom the Englishmen struck down, that the French 
were driven out.' ' ^ Lord d'Esquerdes, foiled this time 
in his attempt on Calais, " which he so sore longed 
for that he would commonly saye that he would gladly 
lye vii yeres in hell, so that Caleys were in the pos- 
session of the Frenchmen," withdrew. Operations 
continued in Brittany during the months that followed 
with no very obvious advantage on either side. In 
July, however, France gained a great diplomatic 
triumph by separating Maximilian from the allies. 
Of all the self-seeking princes of the time he seems to 
have been the most selfish and faithless, and treaty 
obligations never bound him long against his own 
1 HaU, Chron., p. 446. 



94 HENRY VII [1489 

interests. 1 His necessities at this time, however, were 
very pressing, and the situation in Flanders was in- 
tolerable, as long as the rebels could look to France 
for help. Charles offered to use his influence to 
settle the Flemish difficulty ; the Duchess Anne was 
to have all her fortresses restored, on condition that 
she turned the English out of the country, and 
promised not to allow them to get a footing there 
again. On this basis the treaty of Frankfort was 
drawn up on 22nd July 1489, but the duchess 
hesitated to ratify it. 

Meanwhile the English troops which had reached 
Brittany in April had been carrying on the war, 
capturing the town of Concarneau in September. The 
Spaniards were making a simultaneous attack on 
Fontarabia, and the coalition seemed to have some 
chance of success, but the inopportune desertion of 
Maximilian and the dissensions in Brittany neutralised 
Henry's efforts. The young duchess, believing a 
rumour that De Rieux had been won over by Henry 
and had agreed to abduct her and force her into 
a marriage with the hateful D'Albret, mistrusted 
Henry's attempts to reconcile her with her guardian. 
In November she accepted the treaty of Frankfort. 
Henry was in a difficult position. One of his allies 
had deserted him, his other ally, Spain, had done 
practically nothing, and was even then receiving 
French embassies to discuss a settlement involving the 
cession of the two provinces. De Rieux and D'Albret, 
however, played Henry's game by refusing to acknow- 
ledge the treaty. They continued hostilities, and 

1 Dr. Stubbs writes of " his absurd dishonesty, which did more 
harm to himself than any one else." Lect. on Med. and Mod. 
History, p. 387. 



1489] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 95 

Charles found that the treaty was worthless unless he 
could persuade Henry of England to become a party 
to it. Henry therefore held the key of the position. 
The English were in possession of many important 
fortresses in Brittany, and without his acquiescence the 
treaty of Frankfort could not be carried out. Further, 
though for the last year French and English had been 
fighting in Brittany and Flanders, the Anglo-French 
truce did not expire until January 1490, and the feeling 
of the time apparently decided that though " their 
subjects' swords have clashed, it is nothing into the 
public peace of the crowns." The strength of the 
English position was apparent when, at the end of 
1489, Charles sent embassies to England to try and 
detach Henry from Spain and conclude a treaty with 
him. One embassy had been received and dismissed 
in the autumn, but the operations of the English army 
in Brittany drove Charles to make another attempt,' 
and a second embassy came to England about Christ- 
mas and after prolonged negotiations was equally 
ineffective. According to Bacon — but of this no con- 
firmation has been found — ^Henry refused to treat 
unless his title to the crown of France was recognised, 
and the French ambassadors hotly retorted that their 
king's sword would maintain his sceptre. There was 
evidently some strong feeling aroused by the course of 
the fruitless negotiations, and one of the Frenchmen 
revenged himself in a bitter Latin epigram. It may 
be that Henry touched upon the old claim that made 
the title of King of France part of his style. ^ 

1 Berg., Spanish Gal., i. No. 41. 

^ We have the Spanish ambassador's evidence that Henry re- 
ceived the suggestion of a perpetual peace by demanding the 
restitution of Normandy and Guienne. Berg., Spanish Cal., No. 41. 



96 HENRY VII [U90 

Meanwhile the prorogued ParUament reassembled 
on 14th October 1489. It was allowed to consider 
the French proposals, in order that its opposition 
might strengthen the king's hand in negotiation 
and, possibly in the hope of a settlement, was again 
prorogued until 24th January 1489-90. Some re- 
newal of the truce must have taken place, though 
no record of it has been found, for the French am- 
bassadors were still in England after the date when 
it was due to expire, and were accompanied on their 
return to France by an English embassy. At Calais 
they were met by a Papal envoy, Lionel, Bishop of 
Concordia, who had been despatched by the Pope to 
try and effect a settlement between France and 
England in view of the danger to Christendom 
threatened by the advance of the Turks.^ He had 
had some success in his negotiations at Paris and was 
on his way to England. Henry, however, would not 
commit himself beyond a general statement that " he 
would be glad and joyous to live in peace and mutual 
amity with all Christendom." ^ As the Pope's agent 
reported, " The Bishop of Concordia laboured greatly 
for peace with the English and achieved nothing." ^ 
Henry continued his warlike preparations. Ferdinand 
made an attack on Rousillon, which diverted some 
of the French troops, and tried to win over the 
Duchess Anne by a proposal — Plater disowned — that 
she should marry the infante Don Juan. 

Between January and May the improvement in 
Henry's diplomatic position becomes clear. The 
operations of his troops had been successful, and 
France, Spain, and the duchess were all bidding for 

1 See below, p. 228. 

2 Brown, Ven. Cal, i. No. 693. = Ibid. 



1490] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 97 

his friendship. The Spaniards showed signs of great 
alarm at the mission of the Legate ; hostihty to Spain, 
not zeal for peace, seemed to them the motive.^ In 
February the attitude of the duchess had changed. 
She sent an embassy to assure Henry of her sub- 
mission and ask for his continued help, and promised 
not to marry without his consent. 

On the 27th of January 1489-90 the prorogued 
Parliament met, and while remitting the uncollected 
arrears of the former subsidy voted a new war grant 
of a tenth and a fifteenth (about £32,000).^ On 
27th February Parliament was dissolved. 

The hope of a general settlement had not yet been 
abandoned and a congress was held in the summer. 
Envoys of England, France, Brittany, the Emperor and 
Maximilian met at Boulogne and Calais. The Bishop 
of Concordia made another attempt to reconcile the 
powers and restore peace to Christendom. As a pre- 
liminary a seven months' truce between France and 
Brittany was agreed upon. The internal dissensions 
in the duchy had been settled by a reconciliation 
between Anne and De Rieux, and the prospect of a 
settlement seemed favourable. The difficulty which 
wrecked the congress, however, was the fact that 
French and English troops were in occupation of 
some of the chief towns of Brittany, and, owing to 
mutual distrust, the envoys demanded hard terms as 
the price of their surrender. Thus Henry's envoys 
asked that the duchess should repay the expenses 
incurred by the English in her defence before they 

1 Berg., Spanish Cat, No. 41. 

2 A sum of £6000 was deducted for remissions to " poor towns, 
cities, and boroughs " wasted desolate or impoverished, Lincoln, 
New Shoreham, and Great Yarmouth being specially excepted. 
Bot. Pari., vi. 438-9. 

G 



98 HENRY VII [1490 

gave up the towns. The French seem to have refused 
to surrender theirs until the king's claim to the duchy 
had been considered, and finally in August negotia- 
tions were abandoned. The internal condition of 
Brittany was desperate. French, English, and Spanish 
troops, though acting independently and rarely in 
concert, 2 were overrunning the duchy. In June, 
Henry sent fresh troops under Lord Daubeney and 
fitted out a fleet under Lord Willoughby de Broke. 
Meanwhile the coasts were prepared to repel invasion, 
beacons were set in order, and men were pressed for 
thp garrison of Calais.^ The English garrison of 
Morlaix, which had been added to the towns held 
by Henry as security, had to crush a revolt of the 
miserable peasants, who refused to pay a hearth- 
tax imposed by the duchess. But, in spite of the 
smouldering disaffection among the peasants, a better 
understanding between Maximilian and Henry made 
the maintenance of the independence of the duchy 
much more hopeful. Maximilian had by French 
help succeeded in beating down the resistance of the 
Flemings to his rule. Having gained all he wanted 
by the French alliance, he suddenly declared that 
the treaty of Frankfort had been violated by con- 
tinued occupation of the Breton strongholds by 
French troops, and repudiated the treaty. For once 
Maximilian's treachery was an advantage to Henry; 

1 Meanwhile there was httle co-operation between the English 
and Spanish troops in Brittany. Ferdinand had been angered by 
the Pope's attempt to reconcile Charles and Henry, and was now 
secretly treating for a separate aUiance with France and offering 
the infanta Joan as wife to Charles. 

2 Letter of Henry VII., dated 15th August 1490, from Eltham. 
L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 97. 

3 Pat., May-July, 5 Hen. VII., m. 21, d ; Pat., 8 July, 5 Hen. VII., 
m. 22, d; L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. App. 371. 



1490] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 99 

on 11th September 1490 a treaty between Maximilian 
and Henry was signed, the object of which was the pro- 
tection of Brittany against France. On Christmas Day 
MaximiUan was invested at Neustadt with the Order 
of the Garter as a special pledge of Henry's friendship. 
About the same time there is evidence that Henry 
was extending the sphere of his diplomatic activity. 
A Portuguese embassy was in England discussing a 
marriage between the cousin of the King of Portugal 
and the elder sister of Henry's queen. Nothing 
seems to have come of it.^ In July of the same year 
a treaty with the Duke of Milan was signed, though 
the project for his marriage with the queen's sister 
Cecily, perhaps never seriously considered, seems to 
have fallen through. Less than a week after the 
important treaty with Maximilian, Henry at last 
confirmed the treaty of Medina de Campo. His 
long delay had been useless. There had been no 
change in the general situation, as he had hoped 
there might be, which would enable him to make 
better terms. He was forced to ratify the treaty 
in order to keep the coalition alive. He still 
hoped, however, that the treaty might be modified, 
and additional clauses were sent to Spain, which, as 
they were an improvement from Henry's point of 
view, were not accepted.^ The secret negotiations 
for a marriage between the Duchess Anne and the 
Spanish prince had fallen through, and, outwardly at 
least, in the autumn of 1490 Spain, Maximilian, and 

> Brown, Ven. Cal., No. 603. 

^ One clause annulled the provision allowing the King of Spain 
to make peace if RousUlon and Cerdagne were restored, and forbade 
either ally to make peace without the consent of the other. The 
other provided that the Princess Katherine was to be sent to 
England as soon as she was twelve years old. 



100 HENRY VII [1490-1 

England were allied against France in defence of 
Brittany. At the end of the year Maximilian felt 
himself strong enough to defy France by a proxy 
marriage with Anne, attended with a curious cere- 
monial described by Hall as " a new invencion and 
tricke." ^ Anne was then publicly proclaimed Queen 
of the Romans and the coalition seemed to be secure. 
The marriage, however, hampered the duchess instead 
of helping her. It alienated D'Albret, who, in spite 
of his rejection by the duchess, had not lost hope of 
becoming her husband, and drove him into alliance 
with the French. He surrendered Nantes to France 
in April 1491. Further, Charles, exasperated by 
Anne's defiance, again invaded the duchy. The 
coalition proved a broken reed. Maximilian gave no 
help, and indeed was in no position to do anything. 
The year before, as if he had not already enough on 
his hands, he had become a candidate for the throne 
of Hungary, and was now absorbed in a war against 
his successful competitor the King of Bohemia. 

Spain was gathering together all her forces for a 
great attack on Granada, and actually in the winter 
of 1490-1 withdrew all her troops from Brittany with 
the exception of a small garrison in Redon. This 
was a contravention of the treaty of Medina, and 
practically left Henry alone of the coalition to defend 
the duchy. In April he sent more troops into Brit- 
tany.^ In May he received an urgent appeal from 
Anne for further help, as the Spaniards were secretly 
dealing with France and again offering a Spanish 
marriage to the young king. The French were in 
possession of Nantes, Charles VIII. had come of age 

1 HaU, p. 449; Pol. Verg., p. 581. 

2 L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. App. pp. 371-2. 



1491] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 101 

and was reconciled to the Orleanist party, and the 
French attack threatened to be unusually vigorous. 
In the face of this danger Henry made great exertions.^ 
All through the spring he seems to have feared a 
French invasion; men had been raised and a fleet 
fitted out. Money was necessary, and the king, un- 
willing to " aggravate the common people . . . whome 
his mynde was ever tokepe in favoure," summoned a y 
Great Council, and obtained its assent to the raising /\ 
of benevolences, after the manner of Edward IV. 
Thus the " benevolent mynde of the riche sorte " 
was searched out by the appointment of commis- 
sioners, it being published abroad that " by their 
open gifts he [the king] would measure and searche 
their benevolent hartes and loving myndes towarde 
hym, so that he that gave mooste shoulde be judged 
to be mooste lovinge frende, and he that gave litel to 
be estemed accordynge to his gifte." Troops were 
sent into Brittany, but the situation had become 
desperate ; it was obvious that half measures would 
not save the duchy. In October Henry called 
Parliament together and made a spirited appeal to 
them, announcing his intention of taking the field in 
person, to make war upon France, not as before in 
defence of Brittany but to recover the ancient rights 
of England. " The French king troubles the Chris- 
tian world, that which he hath is not his own, yet he 
seeketh more. Let us by the favour of Almighty 
God, try our right for the crown of France itself, 
remembering that there hath been a French king 
prisoner in England and a King of England crowned 
in France." These are the words put by Bacon into 

1 Pat., 5th May, 6 Hen. VII., m. 9, d; L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 
App. pp. 371-2. 



102 HENRY VII [1491 

the king's mouth.^ This appeal to national ambition 
and the war spirit met with a good response. Two 
fifteenths and two tenths were granted for the war, 
in which it was the king's purpose " to hazard his 
most noble person." Meanwhile he attempted to 
bind Ferdinand in some more effective way. Spanish 
co-operation had hitherto been of little value, and in 
November, finding his first effort had not succeeded, 
Henry attempted a second modification of the terms 
of the treaty of Medina de Campo by drawing up 
supplementary treaties. The first bound Spain and 
England to declare war upon France before 15th 
April 1492, and to begin hostilities before 15th of June 
at the latest ; the second stipulated that the Princess 
Katherine should be sent to England to marry Prince 
Arthur as soon as he was fourteen, and that her 
dowry of 200,000 crowns should then be paid. 

Less than a fortnight later the cause which Henry 
had striven for by diplomacy, by treaties, and by 
force of arms — the independence of Brittany — had 
gone for ever. The young duchess, weary of looking 
to her allies for the help that never came, saw her 
duchy being devastated alike by the arms of friend 
and foe. In the summer the French troops advanced, 
took Redon from the Spaniards, Concarneau from 
the English, and besieged Anne in Rennes. Her 
position was desperate. She had pawned all her 
jewels, she was living in the midst of a disorderly 
and mutinous garrison of English, German, and 
Spanish troops. Henry had provided the means of 
flight and advised her to escape to the English ships 

1 Bacon, op. cit., 116, and 116, n. 1 ; Bot. Pari., vi. 440; Stubbs, 
Lee. on Med. and Mod. Hist., p. 422. Polydor Vergil alludes to 
some speech of the kind. 



U91-2] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 103 

and make her way to join Maximilian, but with 
characteristic courage and determination she refused 
to abandon her capital. She also rejected Charles's 
offer to find her a suitable husband. Charles then 
bought over the mutinous garrison, entered Rennes 
in triumph, and asked for Anne's hand. In her 
extremity, finding that the vaunted league of three 
kings was worthless as a defence, she came to terms. 
She repudiated her betrothal and proxy marriage to 
Maximilian; Charles on his side renounced Maxi- 
milian's daughter, whom he had formally married 
years before, when she was only three years old. 
Papal dispensations were obtained, and on the 6th of 
December Charles VIII. married Anne of Brittany 
and her duchy became part of the kingdom of France. 

The coalition had failed. To two of the allies, 
involved in wars of more vital consequence, the 
defence of Brittany was a secondary consideration. 
Brittany, however, had been Henry's objective, and 
with the loss of its independence all his trouble had 
been thrown away. It appeared at once that Spain 
and Maximilian were not prepared to undertake a 
war of revenge upon France. In the heat of his 
first disappointment Maximilian talked loudly of an 
attack upon Brittany, and promised to send 10,000 
men to serve with the English for two years, but 
in the spring of 1492 the war in Hungary absorbed 
all his resources. Spain had just won a great triumph 
which made her comparatively indifferent to the check 
received in Brittany. In January 1491-2 the long 
efforts of the Spaniards were crowned by the fall of 
Granada, an event which was received in London 
with great rejoicings. 

Henry alone of the allies seems to have been 



104 HENRY VII [1491-2 

serious in his intention of making war on France, and 
he was probably swayed to some extent by the war 
spirit aroused in England by the French success.^ 
It is clear that he felt very bitter against France 
at this time. A letter written to the Pope on 8th 
December 1491 ^ breathes hostility against France. 
Henry writes of her insatiable coveting of the dominions 
of others, her fostering of rebellion in Ireland, her 
violent thirst for annexation, and her insolent law- 
lessness. The king spoke of war as a hateful necessity 
forced upon him to whom the slaughter of men and 
the shedding of Christian blood was abhorrent.^ A 
few weeks later he wrote to Milan of the French, " who 
are so on the watch to increase their power by any 
villany . . . that they may annihilate all neighbour- 
ing sovereigns to their own advantage," and an- 
nounced his intention to make war and " to carry 
our banners against them in person." * 

Henry's actions reflected the strength of his hostile 
feelings. He made great preparations, assembled a 
large force at Portsmouth,^ three breweries being 

' Bacon says that Henxy did but " traffic with the war to make 
his return in money," and that he had no intention of making war 
in earnest {ffen. VII., p. 119). This is probably an overstatement 
of the truth. Henry may have been a reluctant warrior, but he 
made his preparations in good earnest. 

^ It is quite possible that he had already heard of Anne's mar- 
riage, which took place on the 6th. The Gely Papers prove that 
communication between England and Brittany was rapid. 

' This warlike letter is signed " your devoted and most obedient 
son, Henry, by the grace of God King of England and France and 
Lord of Ireland," an unusually elaborate signature from Henry 
to the Pope. There is an interesting despatch (dated March 1492) 
from Henry's ambassador, John de Giglis, describing the Pope's 
reception of this letter. Report on MSS. of Lord Middleton (Hist. 
MSS. Com. 1911), pp. 260-263, and App. 612. 

* Brown, Ven. Cal., No. 617. 

" Rymer, xii. 463, 477-480 ; Paston Letters, iii. 375 ; Plumpton 
Correspondence (Camden Soc), 102-103. 



1492] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 105 

built near the town, and appointed John, Earl of 
Oxford, and the Duke of Bedford as leaders. He 
spared no efforts to rouse his nominal allies, of 
whom " one had power and not will, and the other 
had will and not power." ^ An embassy was sent to 
Maximilian, which found him as usual utterly un- 
prepared, urging him to co-operate. He summoned 
the Duke of Milan to take part in the war and made 
an appeal to the Pope. He further tried to make 
capital out of the disaffection in Brittany, where many 
of the nobles were discontented at the union with 
France, by entering into negotiations for the surrender 
of Brest, but the plot was found out and came to 
nothing. Parliament made regulations for the conduct 
of the war and the payment of troops, and additional 
ships were provided. A force sailed from Portsmouth 
in June, but beyond ravaging the coasts of Brittany 
and Normandy and carrying off booty little was done. 
In the autumn an English fleet of twelve ships under 
Sir Edward Poynings was sent to co-operate with 
Maximilian's troops in the siege of Sluys, which had 
been holding out ever since the Flemish rebellion had 
been put down. It had been the headquarters of 
pirates who did great damage to the merchandise of 
nations trading with Antwerp, and the English cloth 
trade had suffered considerably. On 13th October 
the town surrendered, the two forts being handed 
over to Sir Edward Poynings. The fate of Sluys was 
of considerable commercial and political importance, 
as it heralded the end of the Flemish civil war. It 
proved to Europe that England, under the leadership 
of her able king, was emerging from the period of 
failure and weakness. 

1 Bacon, op. cit., p. 120. 



106 HENRY VII [1492 

Though the fleet was thus profitably employed, 
Henry's army was delaying in England until late 
in the year. The spring and summer went by with- 
out the invasion of France taking place. In May 
there was a great tournament at the palace of 
Sheen, " to warm the blood of the nobility and 
gallants against the war." In August a French 
attack seems to have been feared, and the southern 
counties were armed to repel an expected invasion.' 
The explanation of the delay was that Henry was 
still trying to induce his allies to give him some real 
assistance in an invasion that would be undertaken 
in their joint interests. He had lost the towns he 
had held as securities for the repayment of his ex- 
penses,^ and was disinclined to incur further costs 
without some assurance of support from his allies. 
Nothing came of his attempts. Even the Spaniards, 
though set free by the fall of Granada, sent no help. 
Henry at last saw that it was a choice between 
making war upon France single-handed or acquies- 
cence in the loss of all that he had been fighting for, 
and he reluctantly decided on war. The long-con- 
tinued threats of war were at last turned into earnest. 
Henry resolved upon an invasion of France, for since 
he had accumulated men and money for the purpose, 
to abandon the project would be unpopular at home 
and would involve a loss of prestige abroad. The 
young Prince of Wales was appointed regent, and 
given power over Church and State in his father's 
absence.^ On 2nd October the king sailed from 
Dover for France in The Swan, landing at Calais at 
11 o'clock. His army of about 25,000 foot and 1600 

1 Rymer, 482 ; L. and P. ffen. VII., ii. App. p. 373. 
^ The date of the fall of Morlaix is not certain. 
' Rymer, xu. 487-8. 



1492] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 107 

horse had been transported by a fleet of Venetian 
merchant ships on the same day.* At Calais the army 
heard, what the king already knew, that no help could 
be expected from Maximilian, who excused himself 
on the plea of poverty, " for," says Hall, " he could 
neither have money nor men of the drunken Fle- 
minges, nor yet of the crakyng Brabanders, so ungrat 
people were they to their lorde." 

On the 18th October, however, Henry advanced 
to besiege Boulogne. The town was strongly 
fortified, and the reduction of it at that late season 
of the year would have been a big undertaking. 
Maximilian " laye style lyke a dormouse, nothynge 
doynge," and Henry therefore was inclined to wel- 
come proposals for peace laid before him by Lord 
d'Esquerdes on behalf of Charles VIII.^ The King 
of France was just then inflamed with the ambitious 
plan of invading Italy in support of his claim to the 
kingdom of Naples. An English invasion and the 
presence of an English army, which might lead to a 
revolt of the discontented nobles of Brittany, would 
be fatal to this scheme. Charles VIII. therefore, 
following his father's lead, offered a substantial sum 
in return for the withdrawal of the English army. 
Henry was similarly inclined for peace. He must 
have seen clearly enough that he had been the cat's- 
paw of his wily allies, that he was fighting Ferdinand's 
battles, Maximilian's battles, not England's battles 
by any means, and not even Brittany's battles, since 

' Dr. Gairdner, following Polydor Vergil and Hall, gives 6th 
October as the date. The correct date, 2nd October, is found in 
the Privy Parse Expenses {Excerpta Historica, 91-2). See Busch, 
op. cit., p. 333. 

2 Overtiu^es had been made even before he sailed from England 
and were discussed while he was at Calais, "where the calm winds 
of peace began to blow." 



108 HENRY VII [U92 

the independence of the duchy was lost beyond 
recovery. The spirited appeal by which he had 
obtained a Parliamentary grant and aroused some- 
thing like a war fever in England, was, as the king 
well knew, a century out of date. The conquests 
that England had failed to keep were not readily to 
be won back. France was consolidated and growing 
stronger every year, and England had been weakened 
by fifty years of civil war. A war of ambition was a 
formidable undertaking for the first Tudor king, and 
the sinister rumour of a new Yorkist plot had just 
reached him. Henry's sound, dull common-sense kept 
his mind free from quixotic schemes. It was the path 
of safety, not the road to glory, that allured him. 
His imagination was never fired with the ambition of 
carving out the career of an Alexander or a Henry V. 
It is clear, however, that he had an adequate if 
not an aggressive feeling for the maintenance of the 
national honour, and the terms suggested for the 
treaty gave him a chance of withdrawing without 
dishonour from a war into which he had reluctantly 
entered.^ Moreover, he could congratulate himself on 
being the only one of the great powers that had not 
deserted his allies and been false to his engagements, 
a signal distinction at a time when diplomatic double- 
dealing was more than usually fashionable. Charles's 
overtures gave him a chance of repaying his treacherous 
allies in their own coin, and he decided to make peace. 
The king attempted to throw the glamour of 
popularity over his sound but inglorious decision to 
abandon the war. His captains drew up a petition 
speaking in feeling terms of the " great and outrageous 

1 Money, as usual, was a powerful motive with Henry. Further 
expense involved heavy taxation and grave poUtioal danger. 



U92] FOREIGN AFFAIRS : 1485-1492 109 

cold of the winter season," of the difficulty of pro- 
visioning the camp when cut off from England by 
" the great rage and tempest of winds and weather " ; 
the allies, they said, were treacherous, the town was 
strong, Sir John Savage had already fallen, and so on. 
The treaty of Etaples therefore was signed on 3rd 
November 1492. By it Charles VIII. agreed to pay 
725,000 gold crowns in yearly instalments of 50,000 
francs. 1 Each party promised not to help the other's 
enemies ; Henry undertook not to assist Maximilian 
and Charles promised not to harbour Henry's rebels. 
On 4th November the camp before Boulogne heard 
the peace proclaimed. The news of peace, we are 
told, was " bitter, soure and dolourous " to the 
English, " they were in great fumes, angry and evil 
content, that the occasion of so glorious a victory to 
them manifestly was . . . refused, putte by and 
shamefully slacked." The king was thought to have 
betrayed his people, to have imposed heavy taxation 
for the sake of a sham war. But Henry's policy, 
though it failed to win popular approval, was obviously 
the right one. Peace with honour, or at all events 
without dishonour, was desirable for England, as well 
as an absolute necessity to the founder of the Tudor 
dynasty, which was shortly to be faced, as the king 
perhaps already knew, by another dangerous con- 
spiracy. The king, much wiser than his people, saw 
that he could never hope to reconquer Normandy 
and Guienne, and he had already found that the 

1 This money was paid every year. Popular opinion in England 
regarded it as a tribute paid to buy oH the old claim to the crown 
of France. Henry's diplomacy had in this respect appeased the 
national vanity. As the " 6cu d'or " was worth about ten or eleven 
shillings the indemnity amounted to about £370,000, or over three 
and a half millions of modern money. 



110 HENRY VII [U92 

expenses of foreign war led inevitably to tumults 
in England. 

With the withdrawal of his arntiy from Boulogne 
Henry's first and last appearance as leader of an 
English army, bent upon foreign conquest, was at an 
end. He never again took up arms outside Britain, 
and his policy became studiously insular. 

A month later (January 1492-3), Charles and Ferdi- 
nand also came to terms. The two border counties 
of Rousillon and Cerdagne were restored to Spain, 
which had thus gained its point without any very 
great exertion. At the same time, as if to show the 
value of the treaty of alliance with Spain, upon which 
Henry set so much store, Ferdinand promised to 
help Charles against all his enemies, and in particular 
against his " old enemies " the English, as well as 
against Maximilian, and the chances of the Anglo- 
Spanish match apparently vanished in a clause by 
which the kings of France and of Spain bound them- 
selves not to entertain any proposal of a marriage 
alliance with Henry or Maximilian. Of all the powers 
engaged Ferdinand had come out of the affair the most 
successfully. He had scored all along the line. While 
the bulk of his forces had been engaged in a successful 
struggle with the Moors, a few men and the exercise 
of his unmatched skill as a diplomatist had won for 
him the coveted provinces and an alliance with the 
King of France. Even the ally he had overreached 
and made use of had not been lost, and Henry still 
counted Ferdinand his friend and ally. 

Maximilian, as might have been expected, felt 
Henry's desertion keenly.^ All his splendid schemes 

' In justice to Maximiliau it should be noticed that his inactivity 
had not been due to want of will to co-operate with Henry. At the 



1492] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1485-1492 111 

had come to nothing, both his alUes had deserted 
him, his daughter had lost her royal husband, and 
he had lost the heiress of Brittany. Though France 
had been the instrument of his humiliation he soon 
came to terms with Charles, but appears to have 
pursued Henry henceforth with bitter hatred. Frank- 
fort might be set off against Etaples, but Maximilian 
was slow to forgive his ready pupil in the art of 
repudiating binding obligations. 

The net results of Henry's first achievements as a 
diplomatist had been moderate rather than brilliant. 
He had made good his footing among the great 
powers of Europe, but the treacherous friendship of 
Ferdinand was more than counterbalanced by the 
embittered hostility of Maximilian. He had gained 
a large sum of money, but the old enemy France had 
advanced her borders and faced England across the 
Channel. He had great hopes of the Spanish alliance, 
but so far he had served Spain and obtained no 
reward. 

As far as the relations of England and France are 
concerned, the treaty of Etaples, which remained in 
force all through the reign, marks the point at 
which medievalism gave way to modernism. With 
it ended the last attempt of an English king to push 
his claims to the throne of France. Henceforth the 
medieval ambition drops into the background, and 
anti-French feeling ceases to be the pivot of English 
policy. Wars of conquest are replaced by years of 
peace and friendly commercial rivalry. 

moment when Henry was negotiating the peace, Maximilian was 
straining every nerve to raise men, and a month later 4000 Germans 
would have joined the camp before Boulogne. 



X 



CHAPTER IV 

PBRKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 

Bad news had hastened the king's departure from 
France. He had been warned that another con- 
spiracy was on foot. Like the attempt of Lambert 
Simnel it was the work of disaffected Yorkists, and 
Uke that, too, it was an attempt to overthrow Henry 
by producing a pretender who claimed the throne 
as heir of the Yorkist hne. The second conspiracy, 
however, was much more formidable than the first. 
It was the most dangerous plot that Henry ever had 
to face ; it handicapped him at critical moments, and 
its shadow lies over many years of his reign. 

The Perkin Warbeck plot first saw the light in 
Ireland in 1491. There the Yorkist malcontents had 
been emboldened by impunity. Bad harvests had 
brought famine ; blood feuds and anarchy flourished. 
Henry had not dared to punish Kildare, the all- 
powerful Lord Deputy, for his share in Lambert 
Simnel's rising, and the oath of allegiance he had 
reluctantly taken did not prevent him from disobey- 
ing the king's summons to England and meditating 
further treachery. The hopes of the Yorkist party 
gathered round the young Earl of Warwick, and his 
name was the focus of conspiracy at home and abroad. 
In December 1489, the Abbot of Abingdon had been 
concerned in a plot to set him free, and executed for 
his share in it. Rumours of his escape were constantly 




■^^^'^ \'??.'.~. """^-^ST 



-,;f=./ 






Emery Walker, Photo 
PERKIN WARBECK 
From the National Portrait Gallery photograph of a 16th century drawing by a 
French or Flemish artist, preserved in the library of the town of Arras 



1491] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 113 

started. A letter written in September 1491 by John 
Taylor, a Yorkist exile/ to one John Hayes, who, 
though formerly a servant to the late Duke of Clarence, 
had been given an official position by Henry,^ contains 
the earliest mention of the plot. According to this 
letter, the King of France had been brought into the 
conspiracy, and had decided to support the claims 
of the Earl of Warwick " in thre parties out of the 
Royalme." ^ This letter makes it obvious that a 
plot for advancing the claims of the imprisoned 
earl was already on foot. It only remained for the 
Yorkist conspirators, assured of French support, to 
find a suitable person to pose as the imprisoned 
earl. The plot thus gaining ground in England 
and France had reached maturity in Ireland. 
The Anglo-Irish lords were pondering the details 
of the conspiracy when, with dramatic opportune- 
ness, their attention was directed to a handsome, 
graceful lad of about seventeen,* who, gorgeously 
dressed in silk apparel, made a brave figure in the 
streets of Cork. In him they found the figure-head 
of whom they were in search, and they approached 
him with the suggestion that he should declare 
himself to be the Earl of Warwick. This boy was 
Perkin Warbeck. According to his public confession, 
the details of which are corroborated by contemporary 

1 Taylor had been a surveyor of customs under Edward IV. 
and Richard III. He had been pardoned by Henry in June 1489, 
but was still a malcontent and was living in France. He is 
very prominent in all the early stages of the Perkin Warbeck 
affair. 

a Rot. Pari., vi. 504 ; Maieriala, i. 20, 189, 198, 201, 211, 237, 296, 
309, 400, 445, 459 ; ii. 89, 93-4, 454. 

' See Rot. Pari., vi. 454. 

* He was aged twenty-three in 1497. Brown, Ven. Gal., No. 760. 

H 



114 HENRY VII [1491 

records and letters,^ he was the son of John Warbeck 
or Osbeck/ a boatman and collector of customs in 
Tournay, and he was born in 1474 or 1475. His 
childhood had been eventful. He had lived with his 
successive masters in Antwerp and Middleburg, and 
in about 1489 he had travelled to Portugal in the 
service of the wife of Sir Edward Brampton, a well- 
known Yorkist. He afterwards entered the service 
of Pregent Meno, a merchant of Brittany, who brought 
him to Ireland in the autumn of 1491. Here, as we 
have seen, he was approached by the Yorkist con- 
spirators. Warbeck, however, refused to personate 
the Earl of Warwick, swearing before the mayor 
" that he was not the son of Clarence or one of his 
race," and denied upon oath a subsequent suggestion 
that he was a bastard son of Richard III. This would 
have been a curious claim to the throne in any case, 
and Richard's son was known to be in Henry's hands. 
The conspirators, however, seem to have determined 
to cast the youth for the chief role in their production, 
and offered him another part, that of Richard, Duke 
of York, the younger of the princes murdered in the 
Tower. By promising him powerful supporters, they 
ultimately prevailed upon him. " And so," says 
Perkin in his confession, " agaynst my will made 
me to lerne Inglisshe and taught me what I shuld 
doo and say." ^ 

So far the conspiracy had not been joined by men 

^ Registers of Towrrmy, printed by Dr. Gairdner, Perkin Warbeck, 
pp. 334r-335; Archmologia, xxvii., 1838, pp. 156-168, 199-200. 

' Warbeck is probably the correct form of the name. Gairdner, 
op. cit., p. 334. Henry VII. in his letter to Waterford (HalliweU, 
Letters, i. 177) writes Osbeck, and that form appears also in the 
confession. See Appendix II. below. 

» HaU, pp. 488-9 ; City Ckron., pp. 219-221. 



1491-2] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 115 

of the first importance. Its leaders were Hubert 
Burgh and John Walter, citizens of Cork, and John 
Taylor, who had returned from his French exile, but 
the conspirators counted upon the support of the 
Earl of Kildare. In a letter written in 1493,^ Kildare 
stoutly denied that he had helped " the French lad," 
but this denial came at a time when Henry had 
proved himself strong enough to punish treachery, 
and cannot be accepted in face of the evidence of 
his complicity. 

Warbeck certainly remained in Ireland in the 
winter of 1491-2, learning English and being coached 
up in the part he was to play. He obtained the 
active support of the Earl of Desmond, who wrote 
letters in his own name and in that of " King Eduartis 
son " to James IV. of Scotland,^ who was then 
meditating hostilities and hoped to help himself by 
hindering Henry. A little later another of Henry's 
royal neighbours joined the conspiracy. Charles VIII. 
sent envoys inviting Warbeck to France. He ac- 
cepted the invitation, "thinking to be exalted into 
heaven when he was called to the acquaintaunce and 
familiarite of kynges and princes," ^ and was present 
at the court of Charles VIII. when Henry invaded 
France. He was treated as a royal prince and was 
joined by various Yorkist rebels. His stay in France 
was brief ; the intrigues of Taylor and Hayes came to 
light, and while the peace negotiations were going on 
Henry learnt of the new conspiracy. One of the 
clauses of the treaty of Etaples bound Charles VIII, 
not to harbour or support rebels or traitors against 
Henry VII. Perkin, obliged to leave France, made his 

^ L. and P. Hen. VIJ., ii. 55. 2 jj,^_^ pp_ 326-7. 

» HaU,^p. 463. 



116 HENRY VII [1492 

way to the safe haven for all Yorkist traitors, the 
court of Margaret of Burgundy. She received him 
gladly, and openly acknowledged him as her nephew, 
" the whyte Rose, prynce of England." In this policy 
she was supported by the counsel of the young Arch- 
duke Philip and by Maximilian, who was burning to 
be revenged upon Henry for the treaty of Etaples. 
Thus, within a few months of his first appearance, 
Perkin Warbeck had been acknowledged by crowned 
heads as well as by Yorkist leaders as i prince of 
the House of York. It is a curious point as to how 
far Warbeck's powerful supporters believed in the 
genuineness of their claimant. Their readiness to 
profess belief in his identity with the Yorkist prince 
sprang from their interest in maintaining the im- 
posture. To set up a pretender who might shake the 
king's throne was their object, and the impostor could 
easily be replaced by the true prince if the conspiracy 
succeeded. Some of Warbeck's adherents may have 
been genuinely convinced. The fate of the two young 
sons of Edward IV. was still a mystery, and no 
conclusive proof of their death had been made public.^ 
Stories of their escape from the Tower were con- 
stantly being circulated, and Perkin's age and appear- 
ance corresponded closely enough to deceive people 
remote from the court. Thus the Yorkist conspirators 
could count upon a certain number of genuinely 
convinced supporters, and those who pulled the 
strings of the puppet behind the scenes naturally 
made loud professions of their belief in his claims. 
One by one all the crowned heads in Europe (with 

1 One writer has suggested that Henry VII. murdered the princes, 
but his arguments have been shattered by Dr. Gairdner. Eng. Hist. 
Rev., vi. pp. 250-83, 444-64, 806-15. 



1493] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 117 

the possible exception of Ferdinand and Isabella)^ 
acknowledged the youth as the Duke of York, and, 
what is more, they treated him with the honour due 
to his high rank. Some, like Maximilian, who, long 
years after Perkin's confession had been made public, 
spoke of him as the Duke of York, may have been 
genuinely convinced,others, like the Duchess Margaret, 
were convinced as a matter of policy.^ Anyway it 
was galling enough to Henry. 

From the duchess, " that fierce Juno " who pursued 
Heru-y with a " woman's undying hatred," Perkin 
probably received the training in the part of a Yorkist 
prince,^ the story of which has been told often and 
with many exaggerations. In February 1492^3 Perkin 
was writing letters to Yorkists in England under the 
title of " The Merchant of the Ruby," and in these 
negotiations it is probable that some of the Hanse 
merchants acted as the pretender's agents.* 

Henry was alive to the danger. He sent an em- 
bassy in July 1493 to remonstrate with Maximilian 
and Philip on the conduct of the dowager-duchess,^ 
and on the 20th of the month he wrote to Sir Gilbert 
Talbot, ordering him to summon men to resist any 
attempt made by Margaret on behalf of Perkin." 
From this important letter it appears that Henry was 
already in possession of the main facts as to Perkin's 

' See Berg., Spanish Gal., Pref. Ixxxiii. 

2 Perkin later asserted that the duchess knew from the beginning 
that he was not the Duke of York. Berg., Spanish Cal., p. 185. 

' She had last seen her brother's court in 1480. 

* Archceologia, xxvii. 

6 Bymer, xii. 544 ; L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 374 ; Ellis, 2nd Ser., 
i. 167 seq. 

° Printed by Gairdner, Perkin Warheck, pp. 275-6 ; Ellis, Letters, 
1st Ser., i. 19-21 ; HaUiwell, Letters of Kings of Eng., i. 172-3. 



118 HENRY VII [1493 

birth, early career, and stay in Ireland. The king 
mentions " the great malice that the Lady Margaret 
of Burgaigne beareth continually against us ... by 
the untrue contriving eftsoons of another feigned lad 
called Perkin Warbeck, born at Tournay in Picardy," 
and alludes to the duchess's method of getting 
together supporters for the pretender by promising 
" to certain alien captains of estrange nations, to 
have duchies, counties, and baronies within the 
realm of England." ^ The king's ambassadors, how- 
ever, could not obtain any satisfactory reply to 
these remonstrances. They were assured of the 
friendship of Philip and Maximilian, but were told 
that the duchess was an independent sovereign 
within her dowry lands and that her conduct there 
could not be interfered with.^ Henry retaliated by 
an original move which illustrates his despotic bent. 
The interests of the English wool merchants were 
sacrificed to the necessities of the Tudor dynasty. 
On 18th September proclamations were issued for- 
bidding all commercial intercourse with Flanders. 
All Flemings were ordered to leave the country and 
their goods were seized ; the Merchant Adventurers 
were recalled from Antwerp and their mart was 
transferred to Calais.^ A similar prohibition of trade 
with England was issued in Flanders, but not until 
some months later (May 1494). The political con- 
sequences unfortunately did not justify Hem-y's action. 
Merchants on both sides suffered loss by the dislo- 

^ He possibly obtained the information as to the pretender's 
birth and family from his late master, Pregent Meno, who in April 
1495 obtained a grant of £300, being later naturalised and made 
governor of an Irish castle. L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 375. 

^ Pol. Verg., 592. 

' L. andP. Hen. VII., ii. 374 ; Hall, 467. CUy Chron., p. 200. 



1493] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 119 

cation of trade without the pressure upon Philip and 
Maximihan being sufi&cient to make them dismiss 
Warbeck from the Netherlands ; and in London the 
privileges of the Hanse merchants, who as foreigners 
were still engaged in the trade with Burgundy for- 
bidden to Englishmen, led to a dangerous riot and 
attack on the Steelyard (15th October 1493).i 
There appeared to be no immediate danger to Henry 
from Perkin Warbeck's pretensions. Both Margaret 
and Maximilian lacked the means required to provide 
an invading fleet for their protege, and he remained 
under Margaret's protection, corresponding with 
various English traitors until the late autumn of 1493. 
The relations between England and Spain at the 
moment were friendly but not cordial. In the treaties 
of Etaples and Barcelona both Henry and Ferdinand 
had ignored their mutual obligations under the treaty 
of Medina de Campo. The much discussed marriage 
alliance seemed to have been abandoned. Henry, 
however, had not given up hope. In March 1493, 
months after the treaty between France and Spain, 
he proposed a modification of the treaty of Medina, 
but the Spaniards having gained Rousillon and 
Cerdagne had no further use for the English alliance. 
Ferdinand was too cautious to make an imnecessary 
enemy, but the Barcelona treaty bound him not to 
make a marriage alliance with England. For the 
moment the friendship of France was worth more 
than that of England. No answer was made to 
Henry's overtures until nearly two years had gone 
by, when, as will be seen, the aggressive attitude of 
France made Henry's alliance again valuable to Spain. 

1 City Chron., p. 198 ; Hall, 468 ; Fabyan, OhronicU (ed. Ellis), 
684. 



120 HENRY VII [U93-4 

Henry, however, had nothing to complain of in the 
Spanish attitude to Perkin Warbeck. Perkin wrote 
from Flanders to Queen Isabella of Castile asking for 
her help and mentioning the support he had received 
from France, Burgundy, Denmark, Scotland, the 
King of the Romans, and the Archduke Philip. ^ 
The Spanish monarchs were much too cautious to 
take up Perkin's cause, and they obviously doubted 
the truth of his pretensions. His letter, which gave 
a very unconvincing account of his early life, being 
conspicuous for its omission of all important names 
and dates, ^ and for a mistake as to the age of the 
prince he claimed to be, was endorsed " from Richard, 
who calls himself the King of England." 

In November 1493 Warbeck left the Netherlands 
and moved into Austria, in the hope of gaining more 
substantial help than the promises the duchess had 
been lavish with. He was well received by Maxi- 
milian, was treated as a royal prince, and took his 
place among the royalties who attended the funeral 
of the Emperor Frederick III.^ The fact that Perkin 
was being received in Vienna as a royal prince was 
an insult rather than a pressing danger, and Henry 
was powerless to interfere. In the summer of 1494 
Perkin Warbeck accompanied his latest patron to 
Antwerp, and Maximilian went a step further. He 
acknowledged the pretender as rightful King of 
England, gave him a bodyguard of twenty archers 
bearing the badge of the white rose, and allowed him 

* ArchcBologia, xxvii. 199. 

^ The letter, dated 25th August 1493, is printed by Madden, 
Archceologia, xxvii. 156. It mentions the " proud and wicked 
tyranny of the usurper Henry of Richmond." 

' Archceologia, xxvii. 2-7. 



1493] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 121 

to decorate his house in Antwerp with the arms of 
England, inscribed with the legend, " The arms of 
Richard Prince of Wales and Duke of York," ^ an 
assumption which roused some travelling English- 
men to fury. This insult provoked Henry into 
remonstrance, and the Garter King at Arms was 
despatched to assure Maximilian and the duchess 
that Henry had proofs of their protege's low origin, 
and to proclaim publicly the facts of Perkin's 
birth. 

Meanwhile the relations between England and 
France were cordial. Payments of the pension due 
were punctually made, and Charles VIII. adopted a 
very correct attitude in the matter of the pretender. 
He kept Henry informed of his actions in Flanders, 
offered to help him with men and ships if the threat- 
ened attack was made, and forbade any help being 
given to the pretender in France.^ In view of 
Charles's preoccupation with his ambitious schemes 
in Italy nothing could have been more generous than 
his offers. Henry replied in the same cordial spirit. 
The Richmond herald was sent into Italy with care- 
fully drawn instructions (10th Aug. 1493) thanking 
Charles for his offer but making light of the pretensions 
of the '^ gar<^on" who, he said, was known to every 
one of rank and position in England to be but the 
son of a boatman of Tournay. He spoke guardedly 
of Charles's claim to Naples and suggested media- 
tion. Henry also notified his brother that England 
was " more peaceful and obedient than it had been 
within the memory of man," and announced his 

' BiiBoh, <yp. cit., p. 93, quoting Molinet, OJvroniqvss, v. 15 aeq. 
^ ArchcBologia. xxvii. 201-4 ; L. and P. Sewy VII., ii. 292-7 ; 
Rymer, Fcedera, xii. 526, 550, 569, 575, 623, 630. 



122 HENRY VII [1494 

intention of bringing the " wild Irish into peace 
and order." ^ 

In England Henry was taking what steps he could 
to neutralise Warbeck's powerfully patronised preten- 
sions. In November, Prince Henry, the king's second 
son, who was born on 22nd June 1491, was created 
Duke of York, the pretender's title. The occasion 
was celebrated by banquets and tournaments, the 
prize, a ruby ring, being presented by the Princess 
Margaret. The young prince, then aged four, rode 
upon a courser to Westminster. After these brilliant 
scenes, which gave "greate gladnesse to all the common 
people," ^ the king struck sudden blows at the Yorkist 
conspirators in England. There is evidence that he 
had for a long time been aware of the treasonable 
negotiations between his subjects and the pretender.^ 
His spies had been busy in Flanders. Towards the 
end of the year he obtained the detailed information 
he wanted by buying over Sir Robert Clifford, one 
of Perkin's most enthusiastic supporters, who had 
declared that he knew the young man by his face 
to be the son of King Edward. His enthusiasm, 
however, was not proof against the offer of a pardon 
and the promise of reward — he obtained a grant of 
£500 in the following January * — and at the end of 
the year he came back to England to betray his 
former associates.^ Already in November William 

1 L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 295 ; Arch., xxvii. 200-204. Richmond 
also had secret instructions to point out that the help given by 
Maximilian to the pretender was an endeavour to set an enemy 
of France on the throne of England. 

^ Full details are given in Cott. MS., Jul. B., xii. f. 91, printed 
in L. <md P. Hen. VII., i. 388-402. 

3 Bot. Pari, vi. 504 ; Stat., ii. 632. 

* Excerpta Historica (ed. Bentley), 100. 

= L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 374 ; Bacon, Henry VII., 152 ; Pol. 
Verg., 593. 



1494] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 123 

Worsely, Dean of St. Paul's, Robert Ratcliff, John 
Ratcliff, Lord FitzWalter, Sir Simon Montford, Sir 
Thomas Thwaites, William Daubeney, the Provincial 
of the Dominicans, and the Prior of Langley and 
several others had been arrested before the mayor 
in the Guildhall and condemned. The churchmen 
escaped the death penalty ; the others were either 
beheaded on Tower Hill or hanged at Tyburn, with 
the exception of Lord FitzWalter. He was imprisoned 
in the Tower but, attempting to escape, was executed 
the following year. Two others, Cressyner and Ast- 
wood, were pardoned at the foot of the gallows in 
consideration of their youth. All the rebels were sub- 
sequently attainted by Act of Parliament in 1495.^ 

A confession dated 14th March 1495-6, made by 
one Bernard de Vignolles, implicates several men 
(Dr. Hussey, Archdeacon of London, among others) 
who were not punished, and it is therefore doubtful 
how much weight can be given to it in details ; at 
the same time it throws a flood of light upon the 
nature of the intrigues by which Henry was sur- 
rounded. There is an extraordinary story of how 
the conspirators, wishing to kill " the king and his 
children, his mother, and those near his person," 
visited an astrologer in Rome, and how, the first man 
failing, they obtained from a second a box of oint- 
ment to spread along and across some door or passage 
through which the king would walk, which would 
bring about his murder by those who loved him best.^ 

The conspiracy was to claim a much more 
exalted victim. The information given by Clifford 

1 City Chron., 203 ; Pol. Verg., 592 ; Bot. Pari, vi. 504^7 ; Stat., 
ii. 632-3. 

« See Brit. Mus. Add. MSS., 8485, f. 230 ; L. and P. Hen. VII., 
ii. 318-23 ; Arch., xxvii. 205-9. 



124 HENRY VII [1*94 

implicated Sir William Stanley, whose help at 
the critical moment had given Henry victory 
at Bosworth Field. He enjoyed a full measure of 
Henry's confidence, held high office at court, and his 
brother was the king's stepfather. When one of 
those nearest him fell into treason, the king's hardly 
given confidence must have been shaken. Unfortu- 
nately the evidence of Stanley's share in the conspiracy 
is slight, but he seems to have promised Clifford 
to help the pretender with men and money.^ Facts 
which came to light many years later (1521) throw 
light upon Henry's characteristic conduct and his 
" convenient diligence for inveigling." It appears 
that Henry knew of Sir William Stanley's treason 
two or three years before he laid it to his charge, 
" and covertly watched him, keeping it secret and 
always gathered upon him more and more." ^ Stanley 
was tried before the Court of King's Bench sitting in 
Westminster Hall at the end of January, and was 
beheaded on 16th February 1493-4. The whole of 
his vast' wealth fell to the king.* 

The deadly character of the plot that was checked 
for a time by these executions appears from certain 
documents executed by the pretender in December 
and January. Perkin Warbeck's pretensions had 
reached the pitch of disposing of the towns and 
castles of England and of the succession to the throne. 
He actually acknowledged Maximilian, in return for 

1 See Eng. Hist. Rev., xiv. 529-34, where Mr. Archbold prints a 
report of Stanley's trial, from which it appears that CUSord was 
Stanley's go-between with Warbeok from 1493 onwards. 

2 L. and P. Hen. VIII. (ed. Brewer), iii. 1, 490. 

' According to Polydor Vergil he confessed his crime. Pol. Verg., 
693; Ciiy Chron., pp. 203-5. Andre's statements are incorrect. 
Vita, 69. Henry paid the expenses of Stanley's funeral, and made 
grants to his servants. Excerpta Hist., 101, 102. 



1494-5] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 125 

his generous renunciation of an apocryphal claim to 
the English crown, as his heir in the throne of Eng- 
land, if he died without male issue. He promised 
to the Duchess Margaret, in whose mind the loss of 
the English lands granted her by Edward IV. and 
confiscated by Henry VII. still rankled, the town and 
castle of Scarborough as well as the manor of Hunsdon 
and the arrears of dowry for which she had long been 
clamouring.! But the execution of Stanley and the 
others was fatal to these preposterous schemes. The 
back of the conspiracy was broken, and the danger 
of a foreign invasion combined with a Yorkist revolt 
passed away. Henceforth the conspirators in Eng- 
land " were as sand without lime." 

The aggressive policy of Charles VIII. indirectly 
strengthened the position of Perkin Warbeck. In 
the autumn of 1494, Europe viewed with alarm the 
young king's invasion of Italy in support of his claim 
to the throne of Naples. By the end of February 
Naples had fallen. His magnificent march through 
Italy was unopposed. All Europe was alarmed. 
Ferdinand of Spain, lately the ally of France, became 
active in bringing together her enemies. A revival 
of the coalition against France took place, the Pope, 
Spain, Maximilian, Milan and Venice binding them- 
selves together for mutual defence in the Holy League 
of 31st March 1495. In view of the French danger, 
the attitude of Spain changed ; the English alliance 
was once more important, and an effort was made to 
detach Henry from France. A long delayed answer 
to Henry's overtures was sent early in 1495, declaring 
that, since the former treaties were invalid for lack 

^ Documents in Archives of Antwerp, quoted by Dr. Gairdner, 
Perkin Warbeck, pp. 290-2. 



126 HENRY VII [1494 

of Henry's signature, Spain had been obliged to make 
peace with France. Henry had already shown that 
Italy was not outside the range of his foreign policy, 
and his interest in Italian affairs was noticed by the 
Milanese envoy. "He is most thoroughly acquainted 
with the affairs of Italy and receives especial informa- 
tion of every event. . . . The merchants, most especi- 
ally the Florentines, never cease giving the King of 
England advices." He had obtained the nominal 
but practically useless alliance of the Duke of Milan 
in the Brittany affair,^ and had even thought of a 
marriage between him and the queen's sister. In 
1493 he had approached another of the Italian princes, 
sending the Order of the Garter to Alfonzo, then Duke 
of Calabria, who became King of Naples in 1494, on 
the eve of the French invasion. Henry had been on 
very friendly terms with Charles of France, but even 
he was beginning to show uneasiness about his 
designs in Italy. He was reluctant to see an inde- 
pendent and friendly kingdom swallowed up by the 
advancing French monarchy, but his offer to mediate, 
conveyed by the Richmond herald, had come to 
nothing. In 1495 the herald was again despatched 
to inquire into affairs in Italy, assure Charles that 
Henry had the love and obedience of his subjects as 
fully as any of his predecessors, and allude to the 
futility of the claims of the " gar^on." To the powers, 
however, the alliance between France and England 
seemed unimpaired, so that any attack on the latter 
would weaken the force opposed to the coalition. 
Maximilian, therefore, at last roused himself to a de- 
termined effort to set a pretender on the throne of 
England and replace a friend of the King of France 

1 27th July 1490. See above, p. 99. 



1495] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 127 

by a creature of his own. As an Italian diplomatist 
put it, " If the Duke of York obtained the crown, 
the King of the Romans and the League might avail 
themselves of England against the King of France 
as if the island were their own." ^ Henry's policy 
had made "the island" count in European politics, 
and the powers were anxious to replace him by a man 
of straw, or at all events to stir up trouble for him 
at home, that woiild prevent him from interfering 
abroad. Thus behind the pretender was the whole 
weight of the Holy League. 

In May the preparations were completed. An 
embassy from Scotland had promised Perkin the 
support of James IV., the duchess appealed to the 
Pope on behalf of her nephew and took the oppor- 
tunity of vilifying Henry's ancestry and describing 
him as an usurper of the throne by force of arms. 
The adventurer sailed from Flanders at the end of 
June with troops provided by the needy but hopeful 
Maximilian at great inconvenience.^ On 3rd of July 
Warbeck and his fleet of fourteen ships appeared off 
Deal. Five or six hundred of his men landed ; 
Perkin, suspecting a snare, remained afloat. Finding 
they " cowde haue no comfort of the cuntre " they 
withdrew towards their ships, but were attacked by 
the country people under the Mayor of Sandwich, 
and beaten off before the king's troops arrived. ^ 

I Brown, Ven. Cal., Nos. 651, 677. 

^ Ibid., No. 648. The exact strength of Perkin's force is ijn- 
certain. The City Chronicle gives the number as 1400 (p. 205). 
The Venetian ambassadors wrote of 1600, " and mariners besides." 
The report that Perkin had 10,000 men with him as well as a Scotch 
fleet and troops was an exaggerated story spread by the Milanese 
ambassador. Brown, Ven. Cal., No. 642. It is doubtful whether 
the Scotch sent any help. ' City Chron., 206-7. 



128 HENRY VII [1*93 

Two of his followers were slain, others drowned, and 
169 were captured. His great army of " valiant 
captains of all nations, some bankrupts, some false 
English sanctuary men, some thieves, robbers, and 
vagabonds," had not inspired confidence among the 
Kentish peasants. Warbeck did not act on the sug- 
gestion of the villagers " that he should return to his 
father and mother, who lived in France and were well 
known there," but sailed away to Ireland, deserting 
his beaten followers. The Sheriff of Kent led 159 of 
them to London, " railed in ropes, like horses drawing 
in a cart." Some were imprisoned in the Tower and 
others in Newgate. The king was in no mood to be 
merciful ; the prisoners were arraigned and condemned. 
One hundred and fifty were hanged in Kent, Essex, 
Sussex, and Norfolk " by the sea side," the foreign 
leaders were beheaded in London and their heads 
set upon London Bridge.^ 

The long threatened expedition, the climax of so 
many ambitious schemes, had been a miserable failure. 
The effect of the fiasco in Europe was to strengthen 
Henry's position and to discredit the claims of the 
pretender. Ferdinand and Isabella, who had never 
believed in Warbeck, wrote in August to their am- 
bassador making light of his pretensions. "As for 
the affair of him who calls himself the Duke of York 
we hold it for a jest." ^ Henry's improved position 
appears from Ferdinand's anxiety for him to become 
a member of the league against France, as he had 
shown some intention of doing. For this a recon- 

1 City Ghron., pp. 206-7 ; Pol. Verg. 595-6 ; Hall, 472 ; Paston 
Lett., iii. 386, 387 ; ExcerptaHiat., 101 ; Berg., Spanish Cat, pp. 68-60. 
Andre's account (p. 66) is brief and inaccurate. 

2 Berg., Spanish Gal, Nos. 99, 103. 



1495] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 129 

ciliation with Maximilian was necessary. This un- 
palatable suggestion was pressed upon Henry with 
the old offer of the Spanish marriage, and in August 
their ambassador was instructed to sound him on the 
question of joining the Holy League. A new alliance 
between England and Spain was proposed, the King 
of Spain declaring that the treaty of Medina was 
invalid because the King of England had not sworn 
to it. This description, which audaciously made 
waste-paper of the treaty the Spaniards themselves 
had spoken of as " concluded," showed great lack of 
consideration for Henry's feelings. Henry, however, 
faithful as ever to his Spanish dream, " spoke always 
in most bland words," and professed himself willing 
to be reconciled to Maximilian " in spite of his in- 
gratitude." ^ The King of Spain at the same time 
warned Henry against French treachery, promised 
assistance against Perkin, and expressed his intention 
of persuading Maximilian and the King of Scots to 
have nothing to do with the pretender.^ Maximilian, 
however, who in his sanguine way had rejoiced in 
vain over a report that Warbeck's invasion of England 
had been successful,^ still seems to have believed in 
his claims. In September 1495 he wrote to the 
Pope appealing to him to support " Richard, Duke of 
York, the bom son of Edward, the lawful and late 
deceased king," and his " excellent title to the king- 
dom of England." * Reconciliation with Henry 
seemed quite out of the question, but Maximilian's 
attitude was not popular with the other European 

1 Berg., Spanish Cal., No. 103. 

2 Ibid., Nos. 92-99, 103, 107. 

3 Brown, Fen. Cal., No. 649. 
» Ihid., iv. 1042. 



130 HENRY VII [1*95 

powers. In England, too, the King of the Romans 
" was held in no account." ^ 

Perkin's expedition had sailed westward after the 
failure of the attempt in Kent, bound for Ireland, 
where the conspiracy had first seen the light. The 
years that had gone by since Warbeck had last been 
in Ireland had seen a great change there. As Henry 
had informed his brother Charles, he had reduced the 
wild Irish to submission. His lordship of Ireland had 
become a reality ; Kildare had been deprived of the 
office of lord deputy, and was in disgrace. Sir Edward 
Poynings had crushed others of Parkin Warbeck's 
former adherents and was in command of a disciplined 
English force. ^ 

The pretender reached Ireland at the end of July 
in command of a fleet of eleven ships, some of which 
were probably Scotch,^ and boldly attacked Waterford, 
the only town which had been consistently loyal to 
Henry VII. The siege lasted for eleven days. Poy- 
nings led a force to relieve the town, and on 3rd 
August Warbeck was obliged to raise the siege with 
the loss of three of his ships.* For several months, 
from August to November, when he reappeared in 
Scotland, we have no record of his doings. Part of 
the gap may be filled by importing a story from the 
Lambeth MS.,^ part of which is, no doubt wrongly, 
assigned to the year 1497.^ According to this story, 

1 Brown, Yen. Col., No. 655. » See below, pp. 297-300. 

' One of the three oa'ptured by the English was called "le 
Kekeovte." L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 299. 

* Garew Papers, 472 ; Hattoliffe's report, L. and P. Hen. VII., 
ii. 297-318, 376; Excerpta Hist., 100-103. 

^ Garew Pa/pers (Misc.), 472. 

« Dr. Gairdner discusses this point fully in Perkm Warbeck, 
pp. 321-326. 



1495] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 131 

Warbeck on raising the siege of Waterford made his 
way to Cork, where he was received by his friend, 
John Walters, then mayor. Ships from Waterford 
followed in pursuit. Finding his cause in Ireland 
hopeless for the time, Warbeck decided to try his luck 
in Scotland. Here part of another narrative, that 
of Zurita the Spanish historian, may be dovetailed 
into the story, and we can trace the adventurer sailing 
for Scotland, but being driven back and wrecked 
upon the Irish coast. He crossed the mountains in 
disguise to a small Irish port and, finding another 
ship at last, made his way to Scotland.^ 

It is not quite clear to what extent the King of 
Scotland had pledged himself to Perkin. As we have 
seen, the adventurer applied to him almost at the 
beginning of his chequered career. It is probable 
that the story he told appealed to the romantic strain 
in the Stuart character, while policy suggested that a 
pretender to the English throne might be a useful 
weapon. There is no proof that James gave help to 
Warbeck before 1495,^ when he is found negotiating 
with the Duchess of Burgundy and her court of 
disaffected Yorkists. In the spring of 1495 a Scotch 
invasion of England was contemplated. James cer- 
tainly made preparations to send ships and men to 
assist Perkin's invasion of England, and votes of 
money are recorded for the " passage in Ingland in 
fortifieing and supleing of the prince of Ingland, 
Richard, Duke of York." * At all events, Warbeck 

1 Ibid. Polydor Vergil and Hall are wrong in saying that Perkin 
Warbeck retvimed to Flanders and thence went to Scotland. 
Pol. Verg., p. 596 ; HaU, p. 472. 

2 Tytler, Hist, of Scot., iii. 475 n. 

' Gairdner, Perkin Warbeck, p. 300, quoting Aberdeen council 
registers. 



132 HENRY VII [1495 

having failed in Ireland felt sure of a welcome in 
Scotland, and late in November ^ he appeared at 
Stirling, where he was given a royal reception.^ 
Great preparations had been made ; hangings had 
been brought from Edinburgh, and his royal host 
presented the wanderer and his attendants with a 
supply of garments suitable to his supposed rank. 
There are notes of the " expenses made upon Prince 
Richard of England his servitors," including the 
purchase, for £28, of fourteen ells of white damask to 
be the prince's "spousing gown," and seven ells of 
velvet (£21) to be a " grete coite of the new fassoune 
to the Prince with sleiffis." He received a handsome 
yearly allowance, and even his offertory at Church 
festivals was not forgotten. Later, at Perth, James 
presented the Duke of York to his nobles ; orders 
were sent out to the sheriffs to assemble troops, and 
early in 1496 arms and artillery were being made.^ 
These warlike preparations, however, were followed, 
as often happened in Perkin's career, by a long delay. 
It was probably about this time that James found a 
bride for the adventurer in the person of his kins- 
woman, Lady Katherine Gordon.* This lady lives 
again after long years in the graceful and poetic 
words of the letter ascribed to Perkin, which has been 
unearthed among the Spanish archives. " Your 

^ The date was either November 20 or November 27. See L. 
and P. Hen. VII., ii. 327, 329. Gairduer, op. cit., p. 301. 

^ Polydor Vergil, followed by HaU, reports a speech made by 
Perkin to James IV. Though the whole speech was an efEort of 
the historian's imagination, it gives a usefiil reflection of con- 
temporary rmnours about the adventurer. Pol. Verg., p. 596 ; 
Hall, p. 473 ; see Busoh, p. 345. 

" L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 330. 

* Pol. Verg., p. 756. 



1496] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 133 

face," he wrote, " bright and serene, gives splendour 
to the cloudy sky, your eyes, brilliant as the stars, 
make all pain to be forgotten and turn despair into 
delight. All look at your neck which outshines 
pearls, all look at your fine forehead, your purple 
light of youth, your fair hair. . . . Love is not an 
earthly thing, it is heaven-born. . . . Farewell, my 
soul and my consolation, you, the brightest ornament 
of Scotland, farewell, farewell." * Henceforward 
Lady Katherine followed the adventurer, " whom she 
ever fondly loved," through good and evil fortune, 
to the end. The end of the year found Perkin still in 
Scotland appearing in public as a royal prince, but still 
unable to translate his shadowy royalty into reality. 

Meanwhile, in England, Henry continued his pre- 
parations for resisting a Scotch invasion. His agents 
kept him informed of what went on in Scotland. The 
northern counties were armed, and in January and 
February ships were manned and sent off against 
Scotland.^ 

In view of the crisis, writs for a new Parliament, 
the first since 1492, had been issued. It met on 14th 
October 1495. The first statute passed was designed 
to strengthen the king's hands at the critical moment. 
It enacted that no one who supported the king de 
facto should be liable to impeachment or attainder, 
but excluded from the benefit of the Act any person 
who should desert Henry in the future. Of course, 
the Act was open to the obvious objection that it 
would be repealed at once by any usurper who suc- 
ceeded in dethroning Henry. But though it could 

1 Berg., Spcm. Cal., No. 119. 

' L. cmd P. Hen- VII ., ii. 376 ; Rymer, xii. 647 ; Excerpta Hist., 
pp. 110, 111. 



134 HENRY VII [1496 

not protect the king's faithful adherents from the 
consequences that would follow his defeat, it may 
have encouraged wavering Yorkists, who were 
genuinely unable to swallow the ambiguities of the 
Tudor title, to give their support to the man to whom 
Parliament declared allegiance was due. Henry 
realised that he was faced with the most dangerous 
combination that had threatened him since the 
beginning of his troubled reign, and he feared 
serious Yorkist defections in the northern counties on 
the arrival of the " Duke of York " and his Scotch 
army. Though war was imminent Henry abstained 
from asking for a money grant. He was empowered 
to collect the arrears of the last benevolence, received 
a grant of one tenth from Convocation, and was 
confirmed in his possession of the lands forfeited by 
the Yorkist conspirators who had been executed 
in 1495.1 

But, while preparing for war, Henry did not give 
up hope of peace. He sent two embassies to Scotland, 
in June and August 1496, to propose a marriage 
between the Princess Margaret and James of Scotland. 
There is no record of the proceedings of the ambas- 
sadors, but James was obviously disinclined to discuss 
the matter and continued his preparations, which 
were duly reported to Henry by his spies. Henry 
had long ago elaborated an underground policy in 
Scotland, and spies kept him well informed of the 
movements of his foes. Scotch nobles, including the 
Earl of Angus and Lord Bothwell, were among his 
agents. Lord Bothwell had already taken Henry's 
pay for his share in an unsuccessful plot to kidnap 

1 Rot. Pari., vi. 458-508 ; Stai., ii. 568-635. For the other 
legislation of this Parliament, see below, p. 265. 



1496] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 135 

the young king, and had been for some time in 
England, but he had contrived to estabhsh himself 
in James's confidence and return to Scotland. His 
long reports to Henry are extraordinarily treacherous. 
He seems to have been destitute of the elementary 
instincts of patriotism, and hastened to betray his 
country's secrets for gold. He kept close watch upon 
the king, reporting to Henry that the date of the 
invasion was fixed for September, revealed the king's 
want of money, the discontent of the people, and 
even details of the artillery at Edinburgh. Further, 
he attempted to win over the king's brother, and 
his letters contain hints of a plan of abducting and 
carrying him oft into England. He wrote that it 
would be best now in this " long night within his 
tent to enterprise the matter ; for he has no watch 
but the king's appointed to be about him." ^ 

By this time the opinion of Europe was inclining 
against the adventurer. If Henry was to enter the 
League he must be freed from the embarrassment of 
Perkin's performances. Ferdinand was again very 
anxious to win Henry's friendship, and his attitude 
was becoming markedly cordial. The Anglo-Spanish 
marriage, long a project in the air, became the subject 
of serious negotiation. In the summer of 1496 a new 
effort was being made by the Spanish ambassadors 
to induce Henry to enter the League and promise to 
invade France in person, and, in return, they showed 
themselves unusually amenable when discussing the 
everlasting question of the marriage portion, and 
genuinely anxious to heal the quarrel between England 
and Scotland. It was now the turn of Spain to de- 
claim against the delay in the conclusion of the 
1 Ellis, Letters /. (1), 23. 



136 HENRY VII [1496 

English alliance, a specially awkward feature of it 
being that English merchants were carrying on a trade 
between France and Spain which was debarred to 
the subjects of both belligerents.^ 

Henry's position in diplomacy at this moment was 
undoubtedly strong. As de Puebla pointed out to 
him, " the House of England now sees what never 
before has been seen, that is to say that the whole 
Christian world unites and allies itself with it." The 
strength of Henry's position was chiefly due to the 
caution which had governed his relations with France, 
and the diplomatic instinct with which he extracted 
gain from a complicated situation, profiting by the 
fact that he seemed to hold the balance in Europe. 
France and Spain were vying with each other in 
repudiating Perkin, and trying to make peace between 
Scotland and England. Early in 1496 Henry was 
negotiating for a personal meeting with Charles, 
reminding him of his offer of help, though he affected 
to make light of the Scotch danger, and offering to 
mediate between him and the Holy League. A mar- 
riage between Prince Arthur and the daughter of 
the Duke of Bourbon had been proposed by Charles, 
but Henry's answer was cold, and he hinted that 
Charles's aggressions in Italy might cost him the 
English alliance. A parade of friendship with France 
served Henry's purpose in driving the members of the 
League, especially Spain, to make still higher bids for 
his alliance, while his negotiations with the League 
alarmed Charles into proving how valuable his friend- 
ship could be to England. In the beginning of the 
year he had sent Henry a paper describing Warbeck as 
the son of a barber and offering to send his parents 
1 Berg., Spanish Cal., pp. 106, 107. 



1496] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 137 

into England.! A French embassy under Concres- 
sault went to Scotland with Henry's knowledge, 
armed with instructions to offer 100,000 crowns for 
the surrender of Warbeck,^ and to propose that James 
should marry a French princess. Henry in the same 
way was trying to induce Charles VIII. to surrender 
James's cousin, the Duke of Albany, who was the 
leader of the rebels and a refugee in France — perhaps 
in the hope of playing off a Scotch pretender against 
the English one.^ 

Maximilian's attitude was the great difficulty in 
the way of Henry's entrance into the League. An 
ambassador sent by Henry reported that Maximilian 
was surrounded by adherents of " him of York," and 
was communicating with Warbeck and the King of 
Scotland.* Spanish influence was strong with Maxi- 
milian, and would be stronger when the proposed 
marriage between the Archduke Philip and the Infanta 
Juana came off ; ^ but when this influence was used to 
try and get him to come to terms with Henry he 
showed great reluctance. To the Spanish ambassadors 
who pressed him to acquiesce in Henry's inclusion 
in the League, he at last give a grudging assent, 
" although he could expect neither benefit nor 
favour from the King of England " ; ^ but when Lord 
Egremont arrived as Henry's ambassador at Nord- 

1 Berg., Spanish Cal., i. p. 92. This ojEEer being reported to Spain, 
brought a bid of the same kind from Ferdinand. 

" The same brilliant idea entered into the Spanish negotiations 
without success. 

3 Cott. MSS. D., vi. 26a ; L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 292-296; Arch., 
xxvii. 203. 

* Berg., Spanish Cal., i. 110. 

' Juana sailed for Flanders in August 1496. Ihid., i. 119. 

8 Brown, Ven. Cal., p. 225. 



138 HENRY VII [H96 

lingen in January 1495-6 to meet the envoys of the 
League, Maximihan proposed terms which were almost 
insulting. He insisted that Henry should at once 
make war upon France, and offered to negotiate a 
ten years' truce and peace between him and " the 
Duke of York." Ambassadors from other members 
of the Holy League, Naples, Venice, and Milan, who 
were present, followed the Spanish lead and strongly 
urged Maximilian to omit the irritating clauses dealing 
with the Duke of York. The Spanish ambassador 
also pointed out, that as they knew Henry to be 
" a very sage king and to be well advised," he would 
not join a defensive league under an obligation to 
attack France immediately, which did not bind other 
members. Maximilian was persuaded to dismiss 
Egremont with a present of a gold cup and 100 
florins, and with an answer which acquiesced in the 
inclusion of England in the League and omitted all 
mention of the " Duke of York." 

This seemed satisfactory, and Henry responded 
by sending Christopher Urswick as his ambassador 
to Maximilian. He arrived at the end of April 1496, 
but found that the King of the Romans was again 
wavering. He talked much of his obligations to main- 
tain the cause of the " Duke of York," from whom he 
had recently, in February, received letters stating that 
he hoped for success owing to disturbances imminent 
in England. He had a suspicion that Henry did not 
mean to break with the King of France, but simply 
wished to join the League in order to prevent them 
supporting Warbeck. Though he personally wished 
to dismiss Henry's envoy, he consulted the ambas- 
sadors of the other powers included in the League as 
to whether he ought " to dissemble and dismiss 



1496] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 139 

him with fair words," and they advised him to 
admit Henry on his own terms, if he refused to 
join under the obligation to begin the attack on 
France. The Venetian ambassador was particularly 
pressing, as he had received private assurances from 
Urswick that the English king was only prevented 
from attacking the French, " England's greatest and 
oldest enemies," through fear of alienating their ally 
the King of Scotland — " who although the poorest 
king in Christendom, could put into the field for a 
period of three weeks an army of 30,000 men, his 
subjects being bound to serve him for that length of 
time at their own expense." ^ Urswick adopted a 
very firm attitude, indeed Maximilian hinted that he 
had been suborned by France and had prejudiced 
Henry against him. He refused to pledge his master 
to an offensive war against France, and hinted that 
he might even find it impossible to send troops to join 
in a defensive war, owing to being hampered by the 
hostility of the Kings of Scotland and Denmark and 
by the " Duke of York " and Irish rebels. " The 
king," he said, " is compelled to be much on the watch 
against the youth who says he is son of King Edward 
and went lately to Scotland, whose king received him 
with many promises." He made no secret of Henry's 
distrust of Maximilian arising from their former rela- 
tions, and of his fear that the latter would do little or 
nothing against France. The pressure of his allies made 
Maximilian dismiss Urswick in a friendly manner — 
the intentions of the confederates being explained in 
a " suitable and very flowery discourse," with the 
promise that when Henry had joined the League 

1 Brown, Ven. CaL, p. 241. 



140 HENRY VII Li496 

they would use their influence to arrange his differ- 
ences with the supporters of the " Duke of York." * 

To Spain the mutual antipathy between Henry and 
Maximilian was most unwelcome. Spain's jealousy 
of France made her the life and soul of the Holy 
League, and her ambassadors were indefatigable in 
trying to free Henry from the embarrassments which 
prevented him from joining the League. They 
showed themselves ready to assent to Henry's scheme 
for a marriage between his daughter Margaret and 
the King of Scotland, and had a great part in 
arranging a commercial treaty between Henry and 
the Archduke Philip (February 1495-6), which con- 
tained satisfactory clauses forbidding the harbouring 
of rebels.^ Further, full powers for concluding the 
marriage treaty were issued in January 1495-6.* 

Thus stood affairs in June, the confederates pressing 
for Henry's inclusion on his own terms, as a guarantee 
that if he would not attack France, he would at all 
events not help her. The march of events made the 
matter very urgent. Charles, who had been obliged 
to withdraw most of his troops from Italy at the end 
of 1495, was preparing another expedition in the sum- 
mer of 1496, and the League wanted Henry's alliance 
on any terms. The Pope pressed him to take up 
arms against France in defence of the Holy See, " to 
send succour without delay, and not perniit the 
Church to be trampled on." * The proclamation by 
the Pope of a crusade in England (half the profits of 
which were to go to the king) was held out as an 

1 Brown, Ven. Cal., p. 241, Nos. 674^7, 690, 693, 698-703, 706. 
" Rymer, Fcedera, xii. 579-81. 

' Berg., Spanish Cal., Nos. 123, 127 ; Rymer, Fcedera, xii. 661-3. 
* Berg., Spanish Cal., p. 108. 



1496] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 141 

inducement, a singular attempt to apply Spanish 
methods to England. ^ It is obvious from the tone 
of the Spanish negotiations that Henry was drifting 
away from France. In June 1496 he promised to 
make a demonstration against France by reviewing 
his troops and arming his navy, and in July it was 
reported that many of his subjects were inclined for 
war. The king, however, announced that he would 
not promise to make war on France while affairs in 
Scotland were still unsettled.'-^ The members of the 
League were much alarmed at hearing a report that 
Henry had sent ambassadors to France to arrange his 
difficulties, but ultimately, on 18th July, the king was 
formally admitted into the Holy League on his own 
terms, his accession being published in Rome on that 
date.^ A printed copy, adorned with the portraits 
of the allies, was circulated, there were processions, 
bell-ringings, and bonfires. The document embody- 
ing Henry's admission to the League was confirmed 
by him at Windsor on 23rd September 1496, and, by 
a solemn procession at St. Paul's on 1st of November, 
he gave a public demonstration of his joy at entering 
the League. On the same day he received the sword 
and cap of maintenance sent by the Pope, and a few 
days later a second Spanish marriage treaty was 
signed.* Chance and Henry's skill had combined to 
give England a splendid position in Europe, and on 
the action of her king hung the destinies of France. 

His new allies, Spain, Italy, the Papacy and the 
Empire, had been making continued efforts to bring 

1 Ihid., p. 121. " Ibid., pp. 101, 103, 103. 

' The negotiations were carried through at Rome by Henry's 
secretary, Bobert Sherbourne. Brown, Ven. Gal., Nos. 691, 713-4, 
717-23 ; Rymer, Fcedera, xii. 638-42. 

* Brown, Ven. Gal., No. 725. See below, p. 204. 



142 HENRY VII [1496 

about an understanding between Henry and James 
of Scotland. Ferdinand's ambassadors advised James 
to withdraw his support of Perkin — ^whom they 
always allude to as " him of York," or " him who 
calls himself the Duke of York " — make peace with 
Henry, and join the Holy League. At the same time, 
" for the purpose of deluding the King of Scots as 
long as possible with hopes," the Scotch ambassadors 
in Spain were beguiled with a favourable reception 
of their suggestion that a Spanish princess should 
be given to James in marriage.^ The Pope added 
his persuasions, but James would do no more than 
give a vague promise to keep peace, a promise which 
he broke almost at once. Deaf to the remonstrances 
of foreign powers, blind to the dissatisfaction of his 
subjects, he was bent upon invading England. 

On the 2nd of September Perkin signed an agreement 
by which he promised on " recovering " the kingdom 
of England to surrender Berwick and seven " sheriff- 
doms," together with an indemnity of 100,000 marks. 
Later in the month the King of Scots crossed the 
border with Perkin Warbeck and about 1500 men, 
but, though dignified by the name of an invasion, it 
was little more than a border raid on a large scale. 
Bold words were not wanting. An arrogantly worded 
proclamation was issued in the name of " King 
Richard of England," which spoke of the usurpation, 
murders, and exactions of " one Henry Tydder in this 
our realm," set a price of £1000 upon the king's 
head and made many large promises.^ But Perkin's 
strength lay in words rather than deeds, and he and 

' Berg., Spanish Cat, No. 137. 

' This proclamation has already been printed in Spedding's 
edition of Bacon's works. Henry VII., 252-5. 



1496] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 143 

his royal host, though " makyng greate boste and 
brag," did very little in England. His men passed 
over the border and then gave themselves up to 
plundering and ravaging the countryside, burning 
towns and villages and killing women and children. 
If they intended in this way, as Hall suggests, 
" to apalle and daunte the hartes of the poore 
commons so that for very feare they should be 
enforced and compelled to submit them selfes 
to this newe found Mawmet," they were singu- 
larly unsuccessful. The men of Northumberland 
failed to rally round the gorgeous gold-embroidered 
standard of the Duke of York, and the adventurer's 
outburst of pity and indignation at the brutal treat- 
ment of his " owne naturall subjects and vassals " 
came too late. His " ridiculous mercy and foolish com- 
passion " provoked James to suggest that Perkin was 
distressing himself unnecessarily over his subjects, not 
one of whom had taken up his cause. The raid was 
the most hopeless failure. The Scots apparently only 
advanced four miles beyond the border, and retired 
after a few days in a panic, as it appeared that the 
country was rising against them, and the approach of 
an English force under the Nevills was rumoured. ^ 
On the 21st of September Perkin was back in Scotland. 
He had struck his blow and failed. The invasion had 
come and gone without the great revolt of disaffected 
Yorkists in the neighbouring counties which Henry 
had half feared in spite of his bold words.^ It proved, 

1 City Chron., p. 210 ; L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 330 ; Pol. Verg., 
598 ; Hall, 475. 

" By November rumours had reached Venice that a great battle 
had been fought in which 15,000 men were killed. Brown, Ven. 
Cal., No. 727. Similar nmiours were again prevalent in March 
of the following year. Ibid., No. 735. 



144 HENRY VII [1496 

if proof were needed, that the new dynasty had taken 
root in the EngUsh soil, and that even the north had 
learnt loyalty to the Tudor. ^ 

The failure of the expedition closed the most 
successful period of Warbeck's career. James IV. had 
hoped for much, his bitter disappointment made him 
consider the possibility of getting rid of his guest. 
According to the chroniclers he " every day more 
and more neglected and lesse phantesied and gave 
credite to him," and though he may have continued 
to believe in the " Duke of York's " claim (and his 
words support this view, as he spoke of him as " the 
Duke of York " long after his execution) he was 
learning that those claims would meet with little 
support in England and could not be profitably ex- 
ploited in the interests of Scotland. But James was 
too chivalrous to follow the dictates of policy, and 
Perkin remained in the country as his guest for some 
time longer. Henry did not proceed at once to the 
retaliatory measures urged upon him by his spy Both- 
well.^ The calmer counsels of the Spanish ambassadors 
prevailed for a time, de Puebla's efforts being seconded 
by those of Don Pedro de Ayala, who arrived in 
Scotland as ambassador from Ferdinand and Isabella. 
He was an extremely able diplomatist, and the strong 
influence he soon acquired over James was used to 
prevent him from making a further attack on Eng- 
land. In London de Puebla was trying to persuade 
Henry not to undertake a punitive expedition, " he 

"^ A proclamation issued by Henry shortly after the invasion 
laid emphasis on the total failure of the Scotch raid and on the 
fact that it was a breach of a truce which had still four years to 
run. Bain, Gal. of Documents relating to Scotland, iv. App. i. 416. 

2 In his letters to the king he enlarged upon James's poverty and 
the discontent of the people. 



1496] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 145 

knew by experience how quickly a kingdom might be 
won and lost. Great as his power perhaps is, the 
result of the war is doubtful." i Neither of the 
ambassadors had an easy task. In January and 
February Henry was levying troops for the defence 
of the border and was preparing a fleet to send against 
Scotland. But the Spanish ambassador in Scotland 
played his cards very cleverly. In the main he 
furthered Henry's interests, which the Spanish 
sovereigns regarded for the time as identical with 
their own.^ For a time he continued the old policy 
of deluding James with the hope of a Spanish bride. 
Henry felt some distrust of Ayala,^ but was reassured 
by his falling in with the proposal that his daughter 
Margaret should be substituted for a Spanish princess. 
The idea of this marriage, which ultimately led to the 
union of the crowns, first appears in the diplomatic 
correspondence of June 1495, and it was renewed 
before and after the border raid.* Don Pedro had 
so far succeeded that a personal meeting between 
Henry and James was discussed. The offers made 
on behalf of James by the Earl of Angus and Lord 
Hume, however, did not satisfy Henry, and in June 
1497 his patience gave way, and Lord Daubeney was 
placed in command of an army and ordered to invade 
Scotland. But at this moment events in Eng- 
land saved James, and Daubeney had to be recalled. 

In order to obtain money for the invasion of 
Scotland without delay, the king had called together 

1 Berg., Spanish Col., i. p. 140. ' Ibid., i. pp. 115, 116. 

' Ayala had adopted Charles of France's ingenious plan, and was 
secretly negotiating for Warbeck's surrender to Spain. Ibid., pp. 
91, 97, 105, 112, 124, 135. In Oct. 1496 Perkin had been writing 
to try and gain support in Spain. Ibid., p. 130; Areh., xxvii. 182. 

• Kymer, xii. 529-531, 538, 540, 572, 636; Bain, Calendar, No. 1622. 

K 



146 HENRY VII [1496 

a Great Council instead of summoning Parliament. 
This Council, which included besides the lords, judges 
and law officers, both burgesses and merchants — 
" the head wisemen of every city and good town of 
this our land" — from all parts of England, met on 
24th October at Westminster,^ and voted the king 
£120,000 for a war against Scotland. This expedient 
of a Council, which was born of haste, not policy, 
brought about a rather curious situation. The grant 
by Council did not legally warrant the collection of 
taxes, but seems to have been regarded as a kind of 
guarantee on the strength of which the king might 
borrow money which would be repaid when Parliament 
met. The Council broke up on the 5th of November, 
and the king at once took steps to obtain the money. 
On the 1st of December a number of privy seals were 
issued, addressed to individual rich men, asking them 
for a loan for the invasion of Scotland. All the privy 
seals were issued in the same form, beginning with the 
announcement that " for the revenging of the great 
cruelty and dishonour that the King of Scots hath 
done unto us, our realm and subjects of the same " . . . 
" two armies royall " were being prepared " by sea 
and land," and ending, " And because as we hear ye 
be a man of good substance, we desire and pray you 

to make loan unto us of the sum of £ , whereof ye 

shall be undoubtedly and assuredly repaid." ^ Like 
the unpopular forced loans of Richard III., the loan 
was collected by commissioners appointed for the 
purpose.* From the city of London he had already 

1 City Ohron., p. 211. 

2 Cotton MS., Titus B, v. fol. 145, printed Baoon, Henry VII., ed. 
Spedding, p. 174. 

' In addition individual members of the Council lent large sums, and 
suggested that the king should raise £40,000 more by way of a loan. 



1497] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 147 

asked for a loan of £10,000 and obtained £4000. The 
whole sum raised by way of loan amounted to 
£57,388, 10s. 2d.i With the money thus obtained 
Henry pushed on his preparations for war, but a 
Parliamentary grant was needed for the repayment 
of the loan. Parliament met on 16th January 1496-7. 
Proceedings began by a speech from Morton about 
the dangers that menaced the kingdom, illustrated 
after the prevailing fashion by elaborate parallels 
from the history of Rome. A very large grant was 
made, two fifteenths and tenths payable in May and 
November, and a subsidy in addition equal to two 
fifteenths and tenths. From these heavy imposts 
only those who possessed less than twenty shillings' 
rent from land or twenty marks' worth of personal 
property were exempted. ^ A large grant was also 
obtained from Convocation. 

In March Parliament was dissolved, but Henry 
was fated " to fight for his money," ^ and had to face 
serious opposition. The attempt to collect the taxes 
in Cornwall produced a great uproar, the people, 
" lamentyng, yellyng, and crying, maliciously said 
the kyng's counsayle was the cause of this polling 
and shauing." Cornwall was a poor and barren 
county; the distant menace from Scotland seemed 
a slight pretext for the king's large demands. The 
angry people found leaders in Michael Joseph, a 
Bodmin blacksmith, " a notable talking fellow and no 
less desirous to be talked of," and a lawyer named 
Thomas Flammock, who encouraged the rioters by 
telling them the law was on their side, and that the 

1 Excerpta Hist., pp. 110-113. 

2 Bot. Pari., vi. 513-519 ; Stat., ii. 642-647 ; City Cfi/ron., p. 212. 
« Bacon, Henry VII., p. 175. 



148 HENRY VII [U97 

king was being led astray by evil counsellors, who 
would destroy both him and the country. Arch- 
bishop Morton and Sir Reginald Bray, " the king's 
screens in this envy," were the scapegoats against 
whom the popular clamour was directed. The 
Cornishmen armed themselves with bows and arrows, 
bills and staves, and the host advanced eastwards 
through Devon into Somerset. At Wells they were 
encouraged by the accession of James Touchet, Lord 
Audley, whom a private grievance had made disloyal. ^ 
He led them on to Bristol ; the city refused to open 
its gates to the rebels, and they continued their march 
eastwards through Winchester and Salisbury. Kent, 
which had played a conspicuous part in many re- 
bellions, was their objective, but they were disap- 
pointed to find that the county did not rise at their 
approach. The men of Kent had proved their loyalty 
to Henry recently on Perkin's attempted invasion, 
and the Cornishmen found " the freest people of Eng- 
land " assembled under the Earl of Kent and other 
nobles to resist them. As usual, the first check led to 
many desertions from the rebel host, but the bulk of 
the insurgents, a body about 15,000 strong, encamped 
at Farnham near Guildford on 12th of June. So far 
the king had not moved; an undisciplined rout of 
peasants armed only with rude weapons, and ap- 
parently not stiffened by the accession of discontented 
Yorkists or other gentry, had marched all through 
the southern counties, and their camp now threatened 
the capital itself. 

Henry's inactivity seems strange. Bacon, following 
Hall and Vergil, explains it as due to deep design on 
the king's part, the rebels being allowed to advance 

1 Rep. of Deputy Keeper, xxxvii. App. iii. 723. 



1497] PERKIN WARBEGK: 1491-1497 149 

in order to draw them far from their base and support. 
Bacon also suggests that the king's inaction was due 
to the fact that he was " attempered by fears and 
less in love with dangers by the continued fruition of 
a crown." The obvious explanation is probably the 
true one — the king did not move before because he 
could not. The rebellion took him completely by 
surprise, all his attention had been directed to the 
preparations for an invasion of Scotland. Since 
February troops had been mustering, and large sums 
of money had been sent to York, Durham, Newcastle, 
and Berwick.^ The rising of the Cornishmen came 
like a bolt from the blue. Daubeney was recalled 
and ordered to lead his men southwards against the 
rebels, while the defence of the borders was entrusted 
to the muster of the northern counties under the 
command of the Earl of Surrey. Henry was faced 
with a very grave situation — " a dangerous triplicity 
to a monarchy, to have the arms of a foreigner, the 
discontents of subjects, and the title of a pretender 
to meet." ^ 

The city of London was at first panic-stricken at 
the imminent danger, but Daubeney's return brought 
confidence. On Tuesday, 13th June, he, with eight 
to ten thousand men, marched out to Hounslow Heath 
and met some of the rebels in a skirmish near Guild- 
ford. On the same day the king left Woodstock and 
advanced towards the capital, reaching Kingston 
on the 16th. On Thursday, 15th June, Daubeney 
had advanced to St. George's-in-the-Fields and there 
received messages from some of the rebels, offering 
to betray their leaders in return for a pardon. On 

1 L. cmd P. Hen. VII., ii. 376 ; Excerpta Hist., 110, 111. See 
Rymer, Feed., xii. 647. " Bacon, Henry VII., p. 178. 



150 HENRY VII [1497 

Friday he joined forces with the king and returned 
to St. George's, Henry going to Lambeth. The 
Cornishmen reached Blackheath the same day and 
encamped there, but between them and the capital 
lay a force of 25,000 men. Friday night they spent 
in " greate agony and variaunce," some being dis- 
posed to submit themselves to the king's mercy, " but 
the Smyth was of the contrary mynde." Henry also 
passed the night " in the ffeilde, abrewyng and 
comfortyng of his people." ^ At six o'clock on the 
following morning (Saturday, 17th June), a combined 
attack upon flank and rear of the rebels was led by 
Sir Humphrey Stanley and the Earl of Oxford, while 
Lord Daubeney engaged the main body. The rebels 
made a desperate resistance, but finding themselves 
surrounded at last surrendered. According to Polydor 
Vergil and Hall 2000 of them were slain.^ The loss 
on the king's side was certainly slight, most of those 
who fell being slain by the yard-long arrows of the 
Cornishmen. Henry, who commanded the rear-guard, 
was never engaged. The king rode into London after 
the battle, being received at London Bridge by the 
mayor and aldermen. After returning thanks at St. 
Paul's for his victory, he went to his lodging in the 
Tower. On the following Monday the rebel leaders, 
Audley, Flammock, and Joseph, were examined before 
Henry and the council in the Tower, and arraigned 
and condemned at Westminster a week later. The 
next day, Tuesday, June 27th, Joseph and Flammock 
were drawn through the city and hanged at Tyburn, 

> City Chron., p. 214. 

* For the whole rebellion, see Pol. Verg., pp. 599-602; HaU, pp. 
476-80 ; City Gh/ron., pp. 213-16 ; Rot. Pari., vi. 644^5. Hall inoludes 
in his aoooimt (p. 477) incidents which happened in the rising of the 
following year. 



14971 PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 151 

the smith showing high courage and hoping " for a 
name perpetual and a fame permanent and immortal." ^ 
On Wednesday Lord Audley was led from Newgate 
through the streets, wearing a torn paper coat adorned 
with the arms of his house reversed, to Tower Hill, 
where he was beheaded. The heads of the three 
leaders were set up on London Bridge and their 
quarters on the city gates. But this was the only 
vengeance that Henry took ; the rest of the rebels he 
spared.^ According to Bacon, the king's clemency on 
this occasion, as distinguished from the severity with 
which Perkin's attempt in Kent was punished, showed 
his discrimination " between people that did rebel 
upon wantonness and them that did rebel upon 
want." * The danger thus overcome is reflected in 
the letters of the Venetian envoy with some extra- 
ordinary comments. According to him an army of 
20,000 men was said to have taken up arms in the 
north and marched on London " because a tax had 
been laid on the priests contrary to custom." The 
king was reported to have collected all his property 
" in a tower near the coast " that he might escape if 
necessary.* 

Meanwhile there had been a change in the posi- 
tion in Scotland. Ayala, who since October 1496 
had been negotiating to obtain the surrender of 
Perkin Warbeck to Spain, worked upon the pre- 
tender by allusions to an approaching and inevit- 
able reconciliation between the Kings of England 
and Scotland, and suggested that he should sail to 

' Hall, p. 479. 

^ City Ghron., p. 215. Many of them bought their ransom from 
their captors at sums varying from 12d. upwards. 

3 Bacon, op. cit., p. 183. * Brown, Ven. Cat, No. 743. 



152 HENRY VII [1497 

Ireland, whence he could be taken by Spanish fishing- 
boats to safe refuge in Spain. Ferdinand and Isabella 
set great hopes on this scheme, and strict precautions 
were taken to prevent Henry from hearing about it, 
de Puebla, then ambassador in London, being kept in 
the dark. Ayala probably succeeded in winning over 
the adventurer, but James was not disposed to 
surrender his protege.^ The Cornish rising raised 
hopes that Warbeck would find in England the 
support he had hitherto looked for there in vain. 
James proposed to co-operate with the rebels by 
invading England on the north while Perkin was 
trying his fortune in Cornwall.^ Early in July, there- 
fore, Warbeck sailed from Scotland, with his wife and 
child, in a ship victualled and provided by James,^ 
escorted by two other vessels, one of them being a 
Breton merchant ship, which was perhaps impressed 
by James for this service. 

There was some delay before James carried out 
his part of the plan. Shortly after Perkin sailed 
James received an embassy from Henry, who after 
the Cornish rebellion gave up the idea of a war of re- 
venge in Scotland, as it meant further taxation. On 
4th July, Fox, Bishop of Durham, had been sent north 

1 Berg., Spanish Cal., pp. 61, 85, 91, 97, 105, 115-20, 124, 135 ; 
Buseh, op. cit; p. 346, quoting Zuiita, v. 1036, llOo. 

' On this point there has been Bome discussion, but the evidence 
appears to support the view that James did not abandon his sup- 
port of Perkin when he left Scotland. Gairdner, L. and P. Hen. 
VII., ii. pref. Ivii. pp. 185-7; Busch, p. 347. 

' Ibid., n. 331—3. Some of the details of the equipment have 
been preserved. We read of the purchase of 3J ells of " rowane 
tawnee to ye Duohes of York to be her ane seegowp," L. and P. 
Hen. VII., ii. 331-4. See also Ellis, i. (i.) p. 32. Busch (p. 346) 
makes it clear that Perkin had not made another expedition 
between September 1496 and July 1497. 



1497] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 153 

to try and obtain the surrender of Perkin and per- 
suade James to send an embassy into England to ask 
for peace, " to save the dignity of the stronger power." 
The ambassador was instructed to make every 
possible effort to arrange a peace. Even the demand 
for Perkin's surrender was to be dropped if it stood 
in the way of a settlement.^ James of Scotland, how- 
ever, was not inclined to treat. His unopposed and 
unpunished raid encouraged him. Henry, with his 
kingdom ablaze with revolt, seemed powerless, and 
the opportunity too good to lose. In August, therefore, 
James again crossed the border, and, after wasting 
and burning the country side, besieged the castle of 
Norham-on-Tweed.^ Henry, however, while making 
overtures for peace, had not abandoned his prepara- 
tions for war. In July all the Scotch were ordered 
to leave England, and on July 1st, £12,000 had been 
sent northwards for the expenses of the war. Norham, 
strongly fortified and garrisoned by the Bishop of 
Durham, " a wise man and one that could see through 
the present to the future," made a stout resistance to 
the Scotch assault. The Earl of Surrey advanced from 
Yorkshire with 20,000 men, and a fleet put to sea under 
Lord Willoughby de Broke. At the news of Surrey's 
advance James raised the siege of Norham and re- 
treated over the border, with Surrey in pursuit. The 
English leader destroyed several border forts and 
took the castle of Ayton. The Scotch army, which 
lay a mile off, made no attempt to save the castle, 
but James offered to decide the whole question by 
single combat with Surrey, the castle of Berwick to 
be the victor's prize. The earl refused this quixotic 

1 Rymer, xii. 676; L. and P. Hen. VII., 104-111; Bain, Calendar, 
iv. 1635. ^ L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 333. 



154 HENRY VII [U97 

offer, and thanking him " harteley of the honoure that 
he offered him ... to admit so poore an earle to 
fight with him body to body," but explaining that 
Berwick was the king's and not his to pledge at his 
will, prepared for battle. James, " not performyng 
his great crakes and boastes," retreated by night. 
Difficulty in obtaining supplies forced Surrey to with- 
draw his troops from that " tempestious, unfertile, 
and barayne region," where they had been " dayly 
and nightly vexed with continual wynde and un- 
measurable reyne." ^ 

James's great scheme had fallen to the ground and 
nothing had been heard of Perkin. It was a favour- 
able moment for the renewal of negotiations, and 
Ayala fostered the peaceful tendencies by every means 
in his power. Henry, who was also strongly urged to 
peace by Spain, and who " did not love the barren 
wars in Scotland though he made his profit of the 
noise of them," sent a plenipotentiary. The chief 
difficulty which had wrecked the earlier negotiations, 
James's reluctance to surrender Perkin at the King 
of England's bidding, had been removed by the 
adventurer's departure from Scotland. Other points 
in dispute, such as the compensation for losses inflicted 
on both sides, were waived, and on 30th September 
a seven years' treaty was signed at Ayton.^ Ulti- 
mately, after negotiations skilfully conducted by 
Ayala as mediator,* the term of peace was prolonged 
to the lifetimes of the two sovereigns.* It was 
publicly proclaimed in London on the 6th December.^ 

1 Pol. Verg., pp. 602-3 ; HaU, pp. 480-2 ; L. and P. Hen. VII., 
u. 332-4. 

' See Rymer, xii. 673-8 ; Bain, 0(denda/r, iv. No. 1636. 

' Berg., Spanish Cal., p. 145. * Rymer, xii. 678-80. 

^ City Ghron., p. 222. 



1497] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 155 

The importance of this arrangement is happily 
crystallised by Bacon. " Ayala's embassy," he says, 
" set the truce between England and Scotland, the 
truce drew on the peace, the peace the marriage, and 
the marriage the union of the kingdoms." ^ 

Warbeck himself wrecked his last chance of success 
by abandoning James's plan of sailing direct to 
Cornwall and landing there. In spite of the failure 
of the rising, and in spite of, or perhaps because of, 
the king's clemency, disaffection was rife in Cornwall. 
"The king's lenity had rather emboldened than 
reclaimed them, insomuch as they stuck not to say 
to their neighbours and countrymen that the king 
did well to pardon them, for that he knew he should 
leave few subjects in England if he had hanged all 
that were of their mind." ^ On the face of it James's 
scheme was a possible if not a likely one — invasions 
on the north and south to combine with treachery 
Avithin. The adventurer, however, abandoned this 
plan and sailed away to Ireland, allured by the promise 
of help given to him by Sir James Ormond, then in 
arms against Henry.^ On 25th July he landed in 
Cork, where he was well received by one of his earliest 
supporters, John Walter. He stayed there some 
time, but found that there was little chance of winning 
further support. Fate seemed to be fighting against 
the adventurer. Sir James Ormond had been killed 
on the 17th of July, and his former powerful friends 
held aloof. The temper of Ireland had completely 
changed. Kildare had just been re-appointed Lord 
Deputy, and was bent on proving his loyalty. Des- 
mond and the Munster chieftains had been par- 

1 Bacon, op. dt., p. 185. ' Ibid., p. 189. 

' L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. pref. xlix. 



156 HENRY VII 11497 

doned,! the south of Ireland was submissive and loyal 
to the Tudor. The faithful city of Waterf ord at once 
sent off news to Henry that Perkin had re-appeared 
in Cork, and Kildare and Desmond made an attempt 
to capture him, but Walter arranged his escape by 
sea to Kinsale. There the adventurer found and 
rejected a last chance of escape. In Kinsale harbour 
there were three Spanish ships, either those provided 
by Ayala to convey the fugitive to Spain or merchant 
ships hired by Walter. But with characteristic hope- 
fulness he decided to try his fortune once more in 
England, and, encouraged by letters from the Cornish 
malcontents, determined to land in Cornwall. He put 
to sea at the end of August or the begiimiing of Septem- 
ber, but the ship in which he sailed was overtaken 
by an English vessel and boarded, and the surrender 
of the pretender was demanded. The offer of a reward 
of 1000 marks, however, did not induce the captain 
to betray the fugitive, who lay in the hold of the ship 
hidden in a cask of wine.^ He landed at Whitsand 
Bay near the Land's End with about 120 men. 

This little company soon grew into thousands ; 
Cornwall was seething with disaffection, and Perkin 
proclaimed himself as King Richard IV., and ad- 
vanced to Bodmin at the head of 3000 men. Thence 
he marched to Exeter and appeared before the city 
on September 7th. Though without artillery he made 
a bold attempt to storm the city, setting fire to the 
gates, but was beaten off with the loss of 200 men, 
and marched to Taunton, which he reached on Sep- 
tember 20th. Here the adventurer's courage began 

^ Ware, Annalea, p. 59 (ed. 1658). 

2 Halliwell, Letters, i. 174^180 ; Smith, Waierford, p. 135 ; Oarew 
Papers, p. 468 ; Pol. Verg., p. 604 ; Hall, p. 483. 



1497] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 157 

to fail. " He put small trust and lesse confidence in 
the remnant of his army . . . because the mooste part 
of his souldioures wer harnessed on the right arme 
and naked all the body and neuer exercised in 
warre nor marciall feates, but only with the spade and 
shovell." ^ Moreover the royal army was advancing 
to meet him under the command of Lord Daubeney, 
Lord Broke, and Sir Rhys ap Thomas, Henry, with 
his usual caution, keeping part of his troops in reserve 
under his own command. But these precautions 
soon appeared to be needless. At the rumoured 
approach of the royal forces Warbeck's courage failed, 
and at midnight on 21st September he stole secretly 
away with sixty mounted men, who had been his 
captains, leaving his host leaderless to face the king. 

Perkin with three of his followers reached sanctuary 
at Beaulieu, the others were probably captured. The 
rebels at Taunton, finding themselves deserted, threw 
down their arms at the king's approach and sub- 
mitted themselves to his mercy, " holdyng up their 
handes in askyng mercy, offering and promising him 
fay the, loyaltie, and obeysaunce." The ringleaders 
only were taken, the rest were allowed to disperse, 
being later punished by the infliction of heavy fines. 
Meanwhile Perkin, after a week in sanctuary, saw 
that his last chance had gone, and being brought to 
the " verie poynte and prycke of extremytie," and 
being assured of pardon, surrendered to the royal 
troops, who were surrounding the sanctuary. He was 
brought before the king at Taunton on 5th October 
and made a full confession.^ Henry took him to 

^ Hall, Chronicle, p. 484. 

a Pol. Verg., pp. 604-5 ; City Ohron., pp. 217-21 ; Hall, pp. 483-6 ; 
Exeerpta Hist., pp. 113, 114 ; Halliwell, Letters, i. 175-8. 



158 HENRY VII [1497 

Exeter, and there Lady Katherine Gordon, who had 
been found by the royal troops at St. Michael's 
Mount in Cornwall, was brought in to the king. 
Perkin was forced to repeat before her the whole story 
of his imposture, and she was then honourably escorted 
to Sheen, where she became a member of the queen's 
household. 

From Exeter Perkin wrote a sad letter to his 
mother. 1 He explained that he had submitted him- 
self to the king and begged for a pardon, laying stress 
on the fact that he was not by birth Henry's subject. 
He had not as yet received a favourable reply, " nor 
had any hope of receiving one, wherefore his hearte was 
verysorrowful." While at ExeterHenry appointed com- 
missioners to inflict fines upon Warbeck's adherents, 
and they proceeded, we are told, with such severity as 
" to obscure the king's mercy in sparing of blood 
with the bleeding of so much treasure." A very 
searching procedure seems to have been adopted, and 
as late as 1500 arrears of fines were being collected. 
Once again the king made rebellion profitable.^ 

After settling the disturbed west, the king turned 
towards London, taking Perkin in his train, " not 
withoute a great concourse of people metjoige hym 
oute of every quarter to see this Perkyn, as he was a 
Monstre, because he, beinge an alien of no abilitee by 
his poore parents . . . durst once invade so noble a 
realme." The king reached Westminster on 27th of 
November, and Perkin was obliged to repeat his con- 
fession before the mayor and aldermen. This con- 
fession, which is now regarded as practically true in 

1 Printed by Gairdner, Perkin Wa/rheck, pp. 329-30. 

2 Rymer, xii. 696-8 ; L. and P. Hem. VII., ii. 335-7 ; Pol. Verg., 
p. 606. 



1497] PERKIN WARBECK: 1491-1497 159 

all its details/ gives a full account of the pretender's 
birth and early adventures. His proceedings after he 
reached Ireland, and his adventures in Flanders and 
Scotland, are dismissed in a few words. Warbeck's 
connection with the Duchess of Burgundy is utterly 
ignored ; the explanation probably is that the object 
of the confession was to make public details of the 
pretender's birth hitherto unknown to the people. 
The king's object was to discredit him once and for 
all as a Yorkist prince, and there was no special object 
in loading the confession with the Duchess's intrigues ^ 
and Perkin's well-known later adventures. On the 
following day Warbeck was conveyed on horseback 
through London, being greeted with " many a curse 
and wonderyng inowth," and was then brought back 
to Westminster, where he was given a lodging.^ He 
remained there for some months, being treated with 
remarkable lenience and allowed a certain amount of 
liberty. His wife remained under the queen's protec- 
tion in safety and honour many years ; " the name 
of the White Rose, which had been given to her 
husband's false title, was continued in common speech 
to her true beauty." * Henry's treatment of her is 
an instance of his generosity to those who opposed 
him. 

Perkin Warbeck's career, however, was over ; Henry 
had at last respite from the canker which had poisoned 
so many years of his reign. Though he lived to cause 
the king anxiety once more, he was never again the 
centre of his diplomacy, or the chief danger in his 

1 See Busch, p. 335 ; also Appendix ii., p. 419, below. 

2 The relations between England and Burgimdy had much im- 
proved. ^ C'% Ohron., p. 221. 

* Bacon, p. 193. She married twice after Perkin's death. 



160 HENRY VII [1497 

path. In Bacon's vivid phrase, Henry was now 
" cured of those privy stitches which he had long had 
about his heart." The year that had seen the Scotch 
ravaging the borders, the Cornishmen marching on 
London, and the pretender raising his standard in the 
West, ended in the king's triumph and the defeat of 
an impostor whose claims had been backed by traitors 
at home and enemies abroad. 



/ 



CHAPTER V 

COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 

One of Bacon's epigrammatic sentences brings out 
the aim which gave unity and coherence to the com- 
mercial and industrial policy of Henry VII. " He 
bowed the ancient policy of this realm from consi- 
deration of plenty to consideration of power." The 
policy Henry adopted had been tried before ten- 
tatively and experimentally ; he gave it permanence 
and made it a success. An increasingly conscious 
subordination of each legislative act to the general 
scheme replaced empirical legislation. His reign saw 
the inauguration of the policy known in later years as 
the Mercantile S ysteno^hich aimed at the regulation \, 
of commerce and industry with a view to increasing 
the national power. The system not only harmonised 
admirably with the general character of the king's 
government, but it gained inspiration and success 
from the approval of his people. Henry's standpoint 
faithfully represented the view of the best Englishmen 
of the day. For a hundred years England had been 
growing more and more into a commercial nation. 
Foreign trade had become the centre of ambitious 
hopes that a generation or two earlier would have 
spent themselves on schemes of conquest. England 
was begirming to become conscious of her commercial 
destiny, and a spirit of keen international rivalry gave 
flavour to the trade policy of her kings. The king 

161 j^ 



162 HENRY VII [U85-1509 

who guided the nation's destinies at this critical 
moment was a man who, innately shrewd, far-sighted, 
and a lover of peace, found a congenial sphere for 
the exercise of his talents in these bloodless victories 
of trade. 

The guiding principles of the Mercantile System 
were the accumulation of treasure, the encouragement 
of native shipping, the maintenance of an adequate 
food supply, and the provision of employment for 
the support of an effective population. Though it 
would be an exaggeration to claim that Henry grasped 
the system as a logical conception — and, indeed, its 
full development belongs to a later era — the tenacity 
with which he kept its main features before him, at 
a time when economic generalisations were unknown, 
is a proof of extraordinary ability. In the early part 
of the reign we find exceptions, waverings, apparent 
retrogressions, the guiding idea obscured by the 
necessities of an uneasy throne, but before Henry 
died the Mercantile System was firmly rooted in 
England, where it flourished until the dawn of free 
trade. As the pioneer of the commercial policy 
under which England won and kept 'her colonial 
empire, Henry VII. appears in one of his most interest- 
ing and significant aspects. 

The king's position, above the arena of commercial 
competition, gave him a general view of the whole 
field of trade and industry. A speech supplied by 
Bacon for Morton, warning Parliament to manage 
industry and foreign trade so that " the kingdom's 
stock of treasure may be sure to be kept from being 
diminished," touches on the guiding aim of most six- 
teenth century statesmen.^ Henry did not neglect 

^ Bacon, op. cit., p. 81. 




KING HENRY VII 
From a picture in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries 



1485-1609] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 163 

this point, ^ but he had much wider views. His 
attempts to regulate the flow of the precious metals 
were a small part of his plan and perhaps the least 
successful. The way in which he dealt with the 
export and import trade of the kingdom proves a 
larger spirit and a wider survey. Much of his legis- 
lation is designed in a consciously protective spirit. 
He hoped to gain for England a larger share in the 
commerce of Europe, and find the sinews of war 
that came from flourishing trade; to restrict alien 
competition and provide profitable employment 
for his subjects. It is this desire that makes the 
spirit though not the letter of his legislation harmonise 
with the theories of modern protectionists, who look 
back beyond free trade to the era of the Mercantile 
System inaugurated by Henry. " England for the 
English " is a motto which would have enlisted 
Henry's sympathy.^ 

The encouragement of English shipping has been 
mentioned as one of the essential features of the 
Mercantile System. Henry was king of an island 
kingdom with awakening ambitions, and the necessity 
of having a large merchant fleet which in time of war 
could supplement the small royal navy and in time 
of peace would give profitable employment to his 
subjects, did not escape him. A great effort was 
necessary. The state of affairs when Henry came to 
the throne seemed almost hopeless. The merchant 
fleet, like everything else, had decayed, and foreign 
ships carried the sea-borne trade of England. The 

1 See below, p. 190. 

* The reign brings into relief the keen contrast between the 
standpoint of the protectionist jealous for national prosperity; 
and that of the free-trader looking forward to an ideal of cosmo- 
politan brotherhood. 



164 HENRY VII [1486-1509 

Navigation Laws, which made a determined attempt 
to secure the carrjdng trade for English ships, are an 
illustration of the operation of the principle of Power 
versus Plenty. A deliberate sacrifice of the latter 
to the former was made early in the reign by the 
passing of Navigation Acts which, at all events at 
first, must have diminished the volume of trade. The 
preamble of the first Navigation Act ^ drew attention 
in striking language to the " grete mynyshyng and 
decaye that hath ben now of late tyme of the Navie 
within this realme of England and ydelnesse of the 
mariners within the same by the whiche this noble 
Realme within short processe of tyme withoute 
reformaccion be had therin shall not be of habilite 
and power to defend itself." The Act forbade the 
importation of wine or woad from Guienne or Gascony 
except in English, Irish, or Welsh ships, manned by 
English, Irish, or Welsh sailors. This Act was tem- 
porary only,^ its experimental character being due to 
the king's appreciation of the fact that the merchant 
fleet of England was not yet large enough to carry 
her sea-borne trade. It was not renewed until 1490, 
but in the interval Henry had succeeded in obtaining 
a share of the carrying trade in Italian wine.' By 
1490 restored peace and order and the king's fostering 
care had led to such a development of English shipping 
that it became feasible to pass a second Navigation 
Act. The new law included a very important pro- 
vision to the effect that no foreign ship should be 
freighted in an English port while an English ship 

• 1 Hen. VII., cap. 8. 

^ Stat., ii. 502. Edward IV. had made a similar attempt to 
restrict the canying trade to English ships, but had been forced 
to abandon it. Henry's efiort was crowned with success. 

» See below,'p.'178. 



U85-1509] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 165 

remained unladen.^ Henry's commercial relations 
with Burgundy, Venice, and Spain were influenced 
by the same aim of encouraging English shipping, and 
his policy was strikingly successful. By the end of 
the reign the English merchant navy was flourishing, 
and its energies, outgrowing their former sphere, were 
finding an outlet in voyages of discovery in search of 
new markets. 2 

The two most important branches of England's 
trade with the Continent were the export of raw 
wool and of manufactured cloth. The former was 
the oldest and still the most important. The state 
of the trade at Henry's accession is illustrated by 
the Cely Papers,^ which reveal the insecurity of the 
roads and of the sea, the dislocation of trade by 
constant wars, and the smuggling of wool to Flanders 
without going through Calais, the chief market for 
English wool, where the subsidy was collected. 
In 1484 certain " banished Englishmen " turned 
pirates were robbing Spanish ships, and French, 
Flemish, and Danish pirates were roving the Channel. 
The English merchants retaliated by capturing a 
ship or two themselves, whenever they got the 
chance. Henry's accession brought peace and strong 
government, and for a time the wool and cloth 
trade flourished. Antwerp, then the centre of the 
commercial world, was the mart for English cloth ; 
Burgundy was also the chief buyer of English wool. 
All through the reign, therefore, Henry's relations with 
Flanders remained the vital point of his commercial 

1 4 Hen. VII., cap. 10 ; Stai., ii. 534-5. 

" See below, pp. 317-24. 

" Gdy Poflpera (Royal Hist. Soc). Wool was bioiight from the 
pastures by pack-horses over rude roads to one of the Cinque Ports, 
and then shipped to Calais, the gate of trade with Flanders. 



166 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

policy.^ The king had two main objects in view — 
to widen the market for EngUsh cloth, and keep the 
trade in the hands of English merchants. Smuggling 
was diminished by an Act of 1487, which handed over 
to the fellowship of the Staple, the oldest organisa- 
tion of English merchants, which had become a 
powerful corporation controlling all the details of the 
trade, the customs upon wool and leather, in return 
for the maintenance by them of the Calais defences.^ 

Unfortunately the peaceful development of the 
wool and cloth trade was early checked by dynastic 
complications. The personal hostility between Henry 
and Maximilian, the intrigues of Perkin Warbeck and 
Suffolk, Henry's anxiety to marry Margaret, all deeply 
affected the course of the wool trade. In September 
1493 Henry took the extreme step of forbidding all 
commercial intercourse between his subjects and 
those of Maximilian. All Flemings were ordered to 
leave England, and the mart for English cloth was 
removed from Antwerp to Calais. Six months later 
Maximilian retaliated by a decree forbidding any 
importation of English cloth, and forbidding English 
merchants to trade in the Netherlands.^ For three 
years this state of affairs continued. There is some 
evidence to show that the effect was more severely 
felt in the Netherlands than in England, owing to 
the fact that the want of English wool starved the 
Flemish cloth manufacture, while the Flemish market 
was no longer all important to the English cloth trade 

1 The special importance of the cloth trade may have impressed 
itself on Henry's mind during his exile abroad. Cunningham, 
Growth of EngUsh Industry and Commerce. 

2 Bot. Pa/rl., vi. 394r-7. 

3 L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 374 ; Pol. Verg., p. 592 ; 0% Chron., 
p. 200. 



1485-1509] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 167 

since Henry's policy had opened new markets for it 
in Germany. 1 Henry has been charged with de- 
hberately sacrificing the welfare of his subjects for 
his own personal advantage, but in his view, 
dynastic considerations were all-important instead of 
unimportant to his people. The Tudor dynasty had 
given them peace and prosperity, and anything that 
threatened the safety of the king's throne threatened 
the safety of the subject's trade. Contemporary 
evidence supports the view that the loss inflicted upon 
English trade was infinitesimal compared with the 
damage in the Netherlands. Criticism, however, 
may be justly directed to the king's methods in the 
matter. His attempt to forge a political weapon 
from his restraint of commerce was a signal failure. 
Maximilian got on so badly with his rebellious Flemish 
subjects that care for their interests was not likely to 
make him vary his policy, and there is no evidence 
that Henry's action weighed with Maximilian at all. 

Much relief was felt when a change in the political 
situation made a renewal of friendly relations possible. 
The commercial provisions of the treaty between 
Henryiand Maximilian, signed on February 24, 1495-6, 
provided for free commercial intercourse between 
England and Burgundy. The duties imposed upon 
English and Flemish merchants were not to exceed the 
rates customary during the last fifty years ; piracy was 
to be put down, and the fisheries were to be free.^ 

1 See below, p. 173. 

2 Kymer, xii. 578-591 ; Berg., Spanish Cat., pp. 85, 95, 103 ; 
Brown, Venet. Cal., Nos. 684, 690. The name usually given to this 
treaty is the " Intercuisus Magnus," but Dr. Busoh has pointed out 
(p. 357) that there is no contemporary evidence for this name, which 
appears first in Bacon's Life of Henry VII. (p. 173), from which it 
has been copied by later writers. 



168 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

The treaty was not, as might have been expected, 
generally popular in England. In London there was 
no enthusiasm over it ; jealousy of the Flemish traders 
was deep rooted, and the Mayor was reluctant to 
affix the seal of the city.^ Only a few months, 
however, had gone by after this settlement before 
fresh difficulties arose. A new duty was imposed on 
English cloth which Henry complained of as contrary 
to the treaty. Retaliation followed immediately. 
The English mart was again removed to Calais, and 
this pressure led to the withdrawal of the new duty 
in July 1497. The English merchants returned to 
Antwerp, where they received a popular ovation.^ 
The' remaining difficulties were discussed at con- 
ferences at Bruges in 1498 and at Calais in the follow- 
ing year, and a treaty of 18th May 1499 settled the 
outstanding questions.^ The assistance of the Staple 
merchants was obtained in the drafting of the treaty, 
and the gain to England was considerable. The 
price of English wool sold by the Staple merchants 
at Calais was slightly reduced in favour of Flemish 
purchasers, and in return duties on English cloth were 
removed, though its sale retail in the Netherlands was 
forbidden. The articles which allowed the English 
merchants to export gold from the Netherlands were 
regarded as specially advantageous. 

This settlement, however, like those that went before 
it, was disturbed by the appearance of fresh political 
difficulties about the end of 1504. The cause of them 
remains obscure, but it seems more than probable that 

1 City Chron., p. 209. 

^ L.andP. Ben. VII., i. 329, ii. 69-72 ; Berg., Spcmiah Cal., pp. 
112, 133, 189, 196-8 ; Rymer, xii. 648, 654^7 ; Hall, p. 483. 
' Berg., Spanish Cal, pp. 196, 198, 209 ; Rymer, xii. 713-20. 



U85-1509] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 169 

Philip, resenting a rumour that Henry was sending 
money to the rebellious Duke of Gueldres in the hope of 
buying the surrender of his rebel the Duke of Suffolk — 
a nice complication of dynastic interests — had again 
imposed heavy duties on English cloth. Though this is 
a surmise rather than a certainty, the fact of renewed 
trade difficulties is clear. After the failure of negotia- 
tions for the removal of the duties conducted by the 
Spanish envoy Manuel, Henry retaliated by transfer- 
ring the English cloth market for the third time from 
Antwerp to Calais (15th January 1505), and followed 
this up by imposing a duty on English cloth exported 
from Calais to the Low Countries. ^ Philip raised the 
duty on English cloth to correspond, and finally 
imports were again forbidden on both sides. Once 
again there was a bad effect on the trade in Flanders 
without injuring English merchants to the same 
extent. Andre's flattering language, which suggests 
that the removal of the market to Calais was an 
advantage to England, cannot be relied upon, but 
the Venetian and Spanish papers support Andre's 
view. The silence of the English chroniclers also 
proves that trade in England cannot have been much 
affected.^ The stoppage of trade was keenly felt 
in the Netherlands, and Philip, who had been obliged 
to withdraw the prohibition of the importation of 
English cloth, sent one envoy after another to England 
to try and improve the situation. Henry stood firm, 
supported by national feeling, and the whole course 
of the dispute is a proof, if proof be needed, of the 

1 L. and P. Hen. VII. ,ii. 379; Berg., ,Spom«A OaX., pp. 266, 286 ; 
Brown, Ven. Cal, Nos. 846, 860 ; Busoh., op. cit., pp. 185, 368. 

8 Andr6, 4?inaZe«, pp. 83,84; Berg., pp. 368-9; Brown, Fen. Oai., 
Nos. 846, 849, 860 ; L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 379. 



170 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

great advances made by English trade since the begin- 
ning of the reign. The dispute lasted until 1506, when 
shipwreck left Philip in England at Henry's mercy.^ 

Under the provisions of the treaty signed in London 
on 30th April 1506, the tolls fixed in 1496 were to 
be continued, and were not to be arbitrarily raised 
above the rates which, in the view of those who 
drafted the treaty, " had been customary since the 
beginning of the world." English merchants, how- 
ever, were to be exempted from certain local tolls, 
and retail sale of English cloth was to be permitted 
all through the Netherlands except in Flanders. ^ The 
obvious unfairness of these arrangements made the 
treaty of little practical value. For once Henry had 
overreached himself. It was one of the mistakes 
that mars the policy of Henry's later years, when his 
diplomacy loses the practical reasonableness before 
so characteristic of it. It was hopeless to expect 
Philip's subjects to acquiesce in a treaty which placed 
them at such a glaring disadvantage. Philip himself 
declined to ratify it, and on his death in September 
1506 the commercial difficulty was still unsettled. 
The Regent Margaret at once suggested a return to 
the arrangements of the treaty of 1496.^ Henry 
frankly expressed his keen disappointment, but as he 
was very anxious to remain on friendly terms with 
Margaret, he adopted a much less uncompromising 
attitude than in his negotiations with Maximilian and 
Philip. He drew up a draft scheme which became 
the basis for the final settlement of commercial 
relations. The treaty signed in June 1507 restored 

^ See below, p. 344. 

" Rymer, xiii. 132-142; L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 289-293, ii. 365. 

' L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 327-337. 



1485-1509] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 171 

the arrangements of 1496, the exemptions from local 
tolls allowed to English merchants in 1506, how- 
ever, being allowed to stand. The arrangements of 
1506 about the retail sale of English cloth were 
abandoned. This satisfactory settlement endured till 
the end of the reign. 

Henry's policy with regard to the Hansard 
merchants was a reflection of popular feeling in 
England. The Hansard merchants had captured a 
great part of the trade between England and 
North Germany during the period when England 
was crippled by civil war, and Edward IV. had 
repaid them for their political and financial support 
by a charter granting them extraordinary privi- 
leges. Thus, at the accession of Henry VII., a 
body of alien merchants were settled in the country, 
trading in English goods on better terms than 
Englishmen themselves. Owing to the prevalent 
jealousy and suspicion of alien merchants, the favoured 
position of the Hansard merchants was as unpopular 
as it was anomalous.^ Nothing proves more clearly 
the feebleness of the central government and the 
decay of English commerce than the position of the 
men of the Steelyard. The fact that English mer- 
chants had no corresponding privileges in the towns 
of the Hanse League made the arrangement a glaring 
humiliation and injustice. 

Henry VII. set himself to vindicate the position of 
his own subjects and to restrain the privileges of the 
Hansards. Even in the stormiest years of his reign 
he pursued this policy, though many years elapsed 

1 The preamble of the Act of Henry's first Parliament raising the 
rates of the duties paid by the alien merchants is a vivid summary 
of the Englishman's jealousy. See 1 Hen. VII., cap. 3 ; Stat., ii. 601-2. 



172 HENRY VII [1485-1609 

before he met with much success. Caution and 
moderation were very necessary at first, in view of 
the great power of the Hansards. When Henry's 
first ParHament granted him tonnage and poundage 
for life, the Hanse merchants were exempted as before 
from the higher rates imposed on aliens. They paid 
exactly the same as the native merchants, and their 
special privileges were confirmed by chapter in March 
1486.^ Signs of a change, however, soon appeared. 
A statute of Richard III. restricting exports was 
revived, Hansards were forbidden to export any cloth 
except fully dressed cloth, complaints of piracies 
committed by their ships were brought forward, and 
their privilege of trading in " their own commodities " 
was interpreted as meaning products of the Hanse 
towns only. At least one of their vessels was cap- 
tured by Henry's ships, attacks on individual mer- 
chants were made, and the whole body was even 
threatened with expulsion from England. Henry's 
proposal that a Diet should be held to discuss the 
complaints and claims of English merchants, ignored 
at first, was acceded to in the face of the growing 
storm. The Diet met at Antwerp in June 1491, and 
came to an agreement under which English merchants 
gained the right to trade with Dantzig.** This slight 
gain was all that Henry's envoys won, and English 
merchants were still in a very inferior position in the 
North German trade. 

In another direction, however, the king's quiet 
campaign against the Hansards had met with 
marked success. Much of the valuable trade with 

1 Rot. Pari., vi. pp. 270, 407 ; Busch, op. cit., p. 73. 
' The town -was important as a point of contact with the trade 
from the Far East. Rymer, xii. 441-2 ; Busch, op. cit., pp. 333-5. 



1483-1609] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 178 

Iceland had been monopolised by the Hansards 
under licence from the King of Denmark, but 
some daring English merchants — ^men of Scarborough 
and Bristol — had carried on an unauthorised and 
contraband trade without the permission of the 
King of Denmark. The exclusiveness of the Hanse 
merchants had made them very unpopular in Denmark 
and Scandinavia, and Henry used their unpopu- 
larity to gain a regular footing for English merchants. 
In August 1489 he sent an embassy to Denmark, and 
on January in the following year a commercial treaty 
was drawn up admitting English merchants to trade 
with Denmark and Iceland on very favourable terms, 
and allowing them to incorporate themselves.^ 

These slight advantages obtained by Henry's diplo- 
macy were not sufficient to disarm national jealousy 
of the Hansards, and it became acute when, during 
the cessation of commercial intercourse between Eng- 
land and Flanders, the Hanse merchants employed 
themselves in the trade forbidden to British subjects, 
gaining not a little advantage from their position. 
Bitter feeling led to a riot in London on 15th October 
1493.* The Merchant Adventurers and other London 
citizens attacked the Steelyard, and were only repelled 
with the help of a force sent by the Mayor. Henry 
profited by this display of national resentment 
to extort from the Hansards a sum of £20,000, to 
be held by him as a pledge that they would not 
take part in the forbidden trade with the Netherlands. 

' Rymer, xii. 373-7, 381-7. The fact that Henry had been able 
to form a combination, which threatened the interests of the Han- 
sards elsewhere, gave his envoys a stronger position in the Antwerp 
Diet. 

a See below, Hall, p. 468 ; Fabyaa, p. 684 ; Qrey Friars Chron., 
p. 25, 



174 HENRY VII [1486-1509 

A severe blow had been dealt at their privileged 
position. The unpopularity of their colony in London 
continued, and the governing bodies of the Hanse 
towns remonstrated with their merchants in London 
on their alleged dishonesty, extravagance, and dis- 
solute behaviour. In spite of the efforts of the 
Hansards to gain redress, Henry continued hostile, 
but as he knew that English shipping was insufficient 
to carry on the whole trade (even if he were strong 
enough to wrest it from their hands), he stopped short 
of provoking an absolute breach with the powerful 
confederacy of towns. He made no secret of his 
unfavourable attitude, and treated the representatives 
of the Hansards with studied discourtesy. In 1497 
the conference repeatedly asked for by the Hansards 
was appointed to meet at Antwerp, but the English 
envoys complained that the Hansard representatives 
had not authority to represent the whole confederacy, 
and left Antwerp before the hastily despatched envoys 
had returned with their fuller powers.^ 

Meanwhile, Henry was making a further attack on 
the Hansard monopoly of the North German trade. 
The agreement permitting English merchants to trade 
with Dantzig had proved a dead-letter owing to the 
hostility of the Dantzig merchants. He opened 
negotiations with the town of Riga, and in November 
1498 an agreement was reached by which English 
merchants were allowed to trade in Riga on very 
favourable terms. ^ Henry hoped that he had thus 
obtained a point of entry into the profitable trade with 
the Far East, but the Hansards resented this arrange- 
ment, and at a diet held at Bruges in the summer of 
1499, the feeling on both sides was so strong that there 
1 Rymer, xii. 651-2. ^ /jj^,^ 700-4. 



U85-1509] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 175 

seemed little prospect of an agreement being reached. 
The Hansards were bent on obtaining some redress 
of their grievances. What they had suffered in 
England ought to be recorded " with a pen of iron on 
a hard flint stone that it might never be forgotten." 
Henry's envoys told them loftily that the king would 
not hear of any alteration of the existing law, and 
that they had better trust themselves to his mercy. 
Henry's attempt to separate Riga from the League 
failed. The town submitted under pressure, and 
surrendered its separate arrangement with England.' 
Henry's anxiety to gain a share of the Baltic trade 
proved that English trade was growing fast 
enough to make the Hansard monopoly felt as 
a restriction, but his failure showed that English 
merchants, even when strongly supported by their 
sovereign, were not yet powerful enough to break 
through the fetters imposed by a powerful and well- 
organised league. Henry, however, has to his credit 
two attempts to gaiti new markets — or more strictly 
to recover old markets — for his subjects ; he was a 
pioneer on the path ultimately thrown open to 
British traders. 

After 1500 there is a distinct change in the character 
of the king's relations with the Hansard towns. His 
former freedom of action was fettered by the political 
complication of Suffolk's intrigues, and under the 
pressure of circumstances he made a serious mistake. 
Suffolk had taken refuge in one of the Imperial 
towns Henry had tried and failed to induce 
Maximilian to have him proclaimed as a traitor, and 
he decided to approach the Hansards, all powerful 

* The submission of Riga was announced in the summer of 1500. 
Busch, op. tyit., pp. 184, 165. 



176 HENRY VII [1486-1509 

in the towns of Germany, and negotiate through 
them for his surrender. This is the explanation of 
the Act of 1504 which removed all the disabilities 
under which the Hansards suffered, " saving only the 
freedom and privileges of the town of London." ^ 
It was a total reversal of Henry's policy. His willing- 
ness to sacrifice important trade interests to a very 
doubtful diplomatic advantage is another instance 
of the curious deterioration of policy visible in the 
king's later years. Fortunately, this reactionary 
measure never took effect. When Suffolk left Aix in 
April 1504, the attempt to bribe the Hansard towns 
became useless. Henry repudiated his obligations 
with cynical aplomb and resumed his former attitude 
of hostility. In an ambiguous saving clause of the 
Act of 1504, he found the way of escape he desired. 
The increased privileges of the Hansards were de- 
clared to be an infringement of the rights of the city 
of London, and customs were again imposed at the 
higher rates. 

In 1504, when commercial intercourse with Bur- 
gundy was again forbidden, the Hansards in London 
were asked to hand over another large sum to the 
king as security that they would not engage in the 
forbidden trade. The original pledge of £20,000 
still remained in the king's hands, and in July 1508, 
about the date when its restoration fell due, Henry 
declared it forfeited owing to the export of cloth to 
Burgundy during the prohibited period. Thus, all 
through the reign, with one brief interruption, Henry 
had consistently pursued his policy of hostility to 
the alien merchants. He had shorn them of many 

> 19 Hen. VII., cap. 23 ; Stat., ii. 664^5 ; Fabyan, Ghron., 688. 



1485-1509] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 177 

of their privileges, and left the field open for the 
competition of his own subjects, to their great gain.'^ 

The position in the Mediterranean was closely 
analogous to the state of affairs in the Baltic and 
North Sea. At Henry's accession the lion's share 
of the trade with England had been grasped by 
Italian merchants — ^the men of Venice being the 
largest traders — and was carried in Venetian galleys. 
English merchants chafed jealously against their 
monopoly, but as the Italian merchants did not 
occupy a specially privileged position in England 
like the Hansards, the situation was not nearly so 
acute. Besides, the trade was specially profitable to 
both countries. English wool was the raw material 
upon which the Italian weaving industry depended, 
and the Venetian galleys brought to England the 
Italian wines, silks, cloth of gold, fine cloth, and 
other luxuries Englishmen were beginning to find it 
diflBcult to do without. Thus the Italian trade 
brought England into contact with the centre of 
European civilisation.^ 

The legislation of Henry's first Parliament left 
the position of the Venetian merchants who had 
settled in England unaltered, except that an Act was 
passed imposing upon those merchants who had 
become naturalised in England customs dues and 
taxes on the same scale as they had paid before 
naturalisation.^ Early in Henry's reign English 
merchants tried to gain part of the carrying trade 
in Italian wine by offering much cheaper rates of 
freight. This attempt was checked by a decree of 

1 Brown, Fen. Cal., Nos. 728-30, 736-41, 754, 764. 
> Ibid., ISTos. 498-800, 602-5, 507-10, i512, 615, 617. 
3 1 Hen. Vrr., oap. 2 ; Stat., ii. 601-2 ; Rot. Pari., vi. 289. 

M 



178 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

the Venetian Senate (14th November 1488), which 
imposed an additional duty on wine carried in 
foreign ships, thus not only equalising matters, 
but even penalising British ships. ^ It looked as 
though Englishmen would be driven out of the trade 
altogether when Henry took the matter up. The 
case did not call for the extreme caution that had 
marked his dealings with the Hansards. The king 
grasped the fact that Italy could not, even if she 
would, give up the English trade. He struck swiftly 
and surely ; the year 1490 saw the treaty with Venice's 
great trade rival Florence and the second Navigation 
Act,^ both of which deeply affected Venetian traders. 
The treaty with Florence (15th April 1490) made the 
Florentine port of Pisa the staple for the sale of 
English wool, and provided that English ships alone 
were to be engaged in the trade. The treaty also 
provided that the English merchants in Pisa might 
form themselves into a company,* this being the 
first attempt to start " a regular factory of English 
merchants in the Mediterranean." * 

For a time the Senate ignored both this treaty and 
the menacing Navigation Acts, and maintained the 
extra duty on wine brought in foreign ships.* 
Countervailing duties were imposed in England in 
1492, and in spite of protests from Venice were con- 
tinued for several years. Henry's firm attitude, and 
the economic dependence of Italy on English wool, 
at last resulted in the Signory giving way, taking off 

' Brown, Ven. Cat., No. 544. ' See above, p. 164. 

» Rymer, xii. 389-93. 

* Cunningham, i. 493-4. Florence was very favourably situated 
from the English point of view, owing to her trade with Egypt and 
Constantinople. 

= Brown, Ven. Cat., Nos. 561, 662. 



U85-1609] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 179 

the duties on wine and leaving English ships free to 
capture what they could of the carrying trade. ^ Even 
then the king did not have the Act of 1494 repealed, 
though he issued a proclamation allowing some de- 
ductions. It is noticeable that even at the height of 
the dispute the friendly relations between England and 
Venice were undisturbed, and as time went on they 
became more intimate. Venice set a high value on 
Henry's friendship, and was deeply anxious for his 
entry into the Holy League. After 1496 the Signory 
kept a permanent representative in England, whose 
letters are a valuable source of information. Venetian 
merchants enjoyed the king's favour and protection ; 
once or twice they were given assistance to repair 
damaged ships, and on one occasion a Venetian 
captain had the honour of dining at the king's table. 
Venice received signal proofs of Henry's friendship 
in later years. In 1506 a royal proclamation ex- 
empted the Venetians from the Act of 1490, which 
forbade the purchase of English wool by foreign 
merchants until six months after the shearing.^ In 
March of the following year the Venetian merchants 
were given a new ten years' charter for trade with 
England, but at the same time they were forbidden 
to engage in the trade between England and the 
Netherlands.^ This latter order is a proof of the 
recovery and steady growth of English shipping ; 
the Navigation Acts had gained for native shippers 
an ever growing share of the carrying trade. By his 

1 7 Hen. VII., cap. 7 ; Stat., ii. 553 ; Rot. Pari., vi. 457 ; Brown, 
Ven. CaZ., Nos. 606, 609, 627, 795, 832. 

2 This waa to give the English cloth manufacturers the advantage 
of time and choice, 4 Hen. VII., cap. 11 ; Stat., ii. 535. 

' The Venetian galleys had been in the habit of proceeding to 
Flemish ports after visiting England. 



180 HENRY VII [1486-1509 

refusal to join the League of Cambrai Henry gave the 
last and greatest proof of his friendship for the 
threatened Republic. ^ 

Henry's commercial relations with France were 
fairly simple. At his accession he signed a treaty 
(17th January 1486) which removed all the fresh 
burdens that had been placed upon the trade between 
England and France since the accession of Edward IV.* 
Commercial relations, disturbed by the war, were 
resumed immediately afterwards, but both parties 
had something to complain of. Henry had passed his 
second Navigation Act in 1490, but on the other hand 
English merchants complained of fresh duties imposed 
during the war and still exacted. Henry also made 
strong representations on the subject of the piracies 
committed by the seamen of Brittany and Normandy. 
Nothing was done, however, until Charles's attempt 
to conquer Naples gave Henry a chance of exacting 
a high price for English neutrality. He made good 
use of his opportunity. Charles signed a decree at 
Naples in AprU 1495, which annulled the new duties 
and restored to English merchants the privileges 
they had formerly enjoyed.' The very favourable 
character of this settlement from the English point 
of view can be seen from the bitter tone of the re- 
monstrances made by the French merchants. From 
this date until the end of the reign they complained 
constantly but in vain of the restrictions under 
which they struggled, and of the extraordinary 
privileges allowed to English merchants in France. 
Charles's ambition had saddled his subjects with an 

I Brown, Ven. Col., Nos. 639, 669, 673, 736, 739, 782, 798, 832, 
887, 893, 931, 939, 940. See below, p. 367. 

" Bymer, xii. 281-2. ' Busoh, op. dt., pp. 351, 358. 



1483-1509] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 181 

unfavourable treaty, and Henry had won another 
commercial victory, the results of which endured 
till the end of the reign. 

Commercial relations between England and Spain 
played a comparatively unimportant part in the 
endless negotiations between the two powers. Henry 
won a considerable advantage at the outset by a 
misunderstanding. The Treaty of Medina del Campo 
had settled that the duties paid by Spanish merchants 
shoxild be those customary thirty years before. 
This meant the surrender of concessions made to 
Spanish merchants in England since that date, and 
though the difficulty was obviously due to an over- 
sight on the part of the Spanish agents, Henry clung 
to his advantage, and duties were exacted on the 
higher scale. The unfairness of this arrangement 
was constantly brought forward by the Spaniards 
during the prolonged marriage negotiations, and they 
also objected to English ships being employed, during 
the war between France and Spain, in trade between 
the ports of the two hostile powers. Thus trade 
afforded a subject for mutual recriminations if the 
ordinary topics of the dowry and the marriage 
portion palled. The Spaniards demanded secu- 
rities from English ships clearing from their ports 
that they would not rim into French ports, and 
threatened that duties on the same scale as those 
imposed on Spanish merchants in England would 
be levied from English merchants in Spain. The 
English Navigation Acts were also a subject of 
complaint.^ None of these questions had been 
settled by the marriage treaty of 1496, and they 

1 Berg., Spanish Col., Nos. 39, 42-44, 47, 50, 61-63, 68-69, 74-76, 
86-88. 



182 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

continued to be a source of friction until 1499, when 
by the Treaty of 10th July both powers agreed to 
treat each other's subjects like their own, " with 
full preservation of the local laws, rights, and 
customs." The interpretation of this last clause 
involved a renewed dispute. Henry continued to 
enforce his Navigation Laws against Spain in spite of 
remonstrances. 1 Concessions were made to England 
by a treaty of 23rd June 1503, but many questions 
were still outstanding at the end of the reign. 

The protective principles that gave unity to the 
king's commercial governed his industrial policy. 
Most of the industrial legislation of the reign was 
framed with a view to encouraging the native artificer 
at the expense of his foreign competitors. Many of 
the industrial enactments of Henry's Parliaments 
were not original, but followed legislation of Edward 
IV. What was new and interesting about Henry's 
policy was that it was the outcome of a definite 
principle and part of a well-considered plan. His 
legislation was not experimental like that of 
Edward IV., but was designed for permanence and 
met with some success. The most obvious illustra- 
tion of this policy is found in the king's treatment of 
the wool trade and of the cloth industry. 

The cloth trade was still comparatively small, and, 
from the Treasury point of view, financially imim- 
portant. Yet whenever the interests of the two 
trades conflicted, as they often did, Henry postponed 
the interests of the wool trade, which, though pro- 
fitable to the king personally, had led to great de- 
population in the rural districts, to the interests of 
the industry that promised to give employment to 
an effective population. 

1 Berg., Spanish Cat., Nob. 106-8, 114, 119, 123, 254. 



U86-1509] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 188 

The customs on wool amounted to fully one-third 
of the king's total revenue from customs, but in spite 
of this a very heavy duty, amounting in some cases 
to 70 per cent., was placed upon wool exported from 
England.! This almost prohibitive duty was im- 
posed, as an Italian observer points out, to prevent 
the exportation of undressed wool and to stimulate 
the woollen cloth industry,^ which was already flourish- 
ing in the eastern counties, especially in Norfolk and 
in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Two later Acts 
checked an anticipated decay in Norfolk by diminish- 
ing the restrictions on the taking of apprentices ; * 
and according to tradition, though there is no clear 
evidence on the point, Henry secretly encouraged 
the immigration of alien workmen into Yorkshire to 
teach their methods to the native workmen. * Another 
statute (1489-90), which revived an earlier Act of 
Edward IV., had given English cloth-workers the 
exclusive right of buying in advance what they 
required of the unshorn crop of English wool. 
Foreigners were prevented from buying until some 
months after shearing, so that they could only take 
what the native manufacturers had left.^ In order 
to prevent the later processes of manufacture from 
being monopolised by aliens, a statute of Edward 
was re-enacted and extended (1487). It forbade the 
export of " unrowed and unshorn cloth," whereby 
" outlandissh nacions with the same drapry arne 
sette on labour and occupacion to their greate 

* The whole revenue from customs on wool was appropriated to 
the defence of Calais. Stat., ii. 667-9. 

* Italian Relation (Camden Soc), p. 50. The duty on exported 
cloth was never higher than 9 per cent, of its value. 

« 11 Hen. Vn., cap. 11 ; 12 Hen. VII., cap. 1 ; Stat., ii. 577, 636. 
« Anderson, Commerce, i. 526 ; Busoh, op. cit., p. 385. 
' 4 Hen. VII., cap. 11 ; Stat., ii. 535-6. 



184 HENRY VII [U85-1609 

enriching, and the kynges true hegemen ... for lake 
of such occupacion dailly fall in greate number to 
ydelnes and povertie." ^ 

In his endeavour to foster the English cloth in- 
dustry Henry came into conflict with long-established 
monopolies, and the monopolists had to give way. 
His attacks on the Hansard merchants had greatly 
strengthened the position of their rivals, the Merchant 
Adventurers. The latter were specially strong in 
London, and there they had adopted an exclusive 
attitude which roused much jealousy in the provinces. 
They attempted to keep the whole of the Flemish 
trade in their hands, and passed a decree which re- 
quired an entrance fee of £20 from every merchant 
trading with the Netherlands. This attempt to 
confine the trade to the wealthier merchants was 
quite at variance with the spirit of Henry's policy. 
He refused to allow the interests of an industry, 
which was of great importance from the national 
point of view, to be subordinated to the greed of a 
group of wealthy men. An Act of Parliament passed 
in 1497 declared trade with the Netherlands free, 
reducing the entrance fee to ten marks. ^ The selfish 
spirit of monopoly checked, the Merchant Adven- 
turers continued to prosper, gaining strength as the 
restrictions on the Hansards increased. Having once 
got the upper hand of them, Henry made use of their 
powerful organisation to enforce throughout the 
kingdom royal regulations of the cloth trade. In the 
later years of the reign the Merchant Adventurers 
received many marks of royal favour. Thus, in 

1 3 Hen. VII., cap. 12 ; Stat., ii. 620-1. Foreign merchants oom- 
plained that the unskilled English shearmen spoilt the cloth. 
' 12 Hen. VII., cap. 6 ; Stat., ii. 638-9 ; Busoh, op. cU., p. 244. 



1485-1509] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 185 

1499, the company obtained permission to use its 
own coat of arms, and in the following year its 
charter was confirmed. In 1505 there was a general 
reorganisation of the whole company by Act of 
Parliament. A governing body, composed of an 
elected governor and twenty-four assistants, was set 
up, and given power to settle the affairs of the trade 
and decide disputes between members, subject always 
to the king's authority.^ By giving additional 
executive powers to a body which he had reduced to 
submission and dependence, Henry increased the 
control of the Crown over one of the most important 
trades in the country. 

Henry's protective measures were not, however, 
framed in a spirit of rigid exclusiveness, and, 
where national interests were not involved, the 
interests of the consumer were considered. An 
example of this is his treatment of the silk trade. 
Though there was great jealousy of the Italian silk 
merchants, and the importation of certain manu- 
factured silk goods was forbidden by Act of Parliament 
in 1485, Henry did not consider the native industry 
sufficiently advanced to supply the needs of the 
country, and in 1504 all silk goods except those men- 
tioned in the Act — " corses, gyrdelles, rybandes, laces, 
calle sylke or coleyn sylke " — ^were to be imported free.* 

Henry's attempts to deal with the agricultural 
problem were spirited but unsuccessful. The circum- 
stances that produced the flourishing cloth trade had 
brought agriculture into difficulties. Owing to a 
variety of causes, of which the Black Death, the 

1 The meeting-place of the governing body was first Calais and 
afterwards Antwerp. Busoh, op. cit., p. 245. 

« 1 Hen. VII., cap. 9 ; 19 Hen. VII., cap. 21 ; Sua., u. 806, 664. 



186 HENRY VII [U85-1509 

decline of the monasteries, and the disorders of the 
civil wars are the most important, there had been 
ahnost complete stagnation in agricultural methods. 
What a man's father and grandfather had done, that 
he continued to do, often less thoroughly. This 
equilibrimn gave way in the reign of Henry VII. 
The high price of wool, and the increased demand for 
it, led to the conversion of much arable land into 
pasture. Small holdings were thrown together, great 
flocks of sheep were kept, and there was a diminished 
demand for labour. The state of affairs is familiar 
to us through the indignant eloquence of contem- 
poraries. " Where there hath been many houses and 
churches to the honour of God, now you shall find 
nothing but shepcotes and stables to the ruin of 
men." ^ " The husbandmen thrust out of their own, 
or else by covin and fraud, or by violent oppression, 
put beside it, or by wrong and injury so wearied 
that they sell all, . . . the noblemen and gentle- 
men, yea, and certain abbots, holy men no doubt, 
that leave no ground for tillage, they enclose all into 
pasture, they throw down houses, they pluck down 
towns and leave nothing standing, but only the 
church to be made a sheep house." ^ 

The situation presented elements of grave political 
danger. The depopulation of the countryside, the 
number of men thrown out of employment, the wide- 
spread distress, all threatened the king's dearest aims. 
Henry made several attempts to stem the tide of 
revolution by legislative interference ; ^ but natural 
forces were too strong for him. As the great profits 
to Bfe obtained from wool-growing were realised, 

1 Starkey, Deacripti(m of England. ^ More, Utopia, 32. 

a 4 Hen. VII., caps. 16, 19; Stat., ii. 540-42. 



U85-1509] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 187 

more and more land was laid down to pasture. A 
pressing social problem remained unsolved as a legacy 
for the next reign. ^ Fortunately, however, there was 
no great rise in the price of corn during the reign. 
Improved farming led to a greater production of corn 
from the diminished area under the plough,^ and little 
corn was exported. On the rare occasions when 
prices rose owing to a bad harvest, as in 1491, the 
export of corn was forbidden,' the needs of the whole 
nation being preferred to the profit of the corn 
growers. The king also attempted to encourage the 
breeding of horses and cattle by legislation. The 
export of horses was forbidden,* and the licenses 
necessary for the exportation of cattle and sheep 
were very sparingly issued,^ in order to prevent con- 
tinental breeds being improved by mixture with the 
English stock. At the same time the fishing industry 
was regulated and protected.^ 

The same conflict between the old order and the 
new that embittered the agricultural difficulty was at 
work in the organisation of industry. The expanding 

' Several cases which illustrate the enclosure movement may be 
found in Star Chamber Cases (Selden See. and Somers Ree. Soc.)- 

^ The enclosure movement was not entirely due to sheep -farming. 
Some enclosures took place from a desire to escape the conservative 
methods of strip tenancy, and adopt improved methods on a con- 
solidated holding. Cunningham {Royal Hist. Soc. Trans., 1910); 
Busch, op. cit,, p. 386. 

' L. and P. Hen. VII., v.. 372 ; "Victualia " are usually mentioned 
in the commercial treaties of the reign among the articles which 
ought to be freely exported and imported. E.g., Rymer, xii. 582 ; 
Busch, op. cit., p. 387. 

* 11 Hen. VII., cap. 13 ; Stat., ii. p. 578. 

^ Edward IV. had issued these licenses frequently. The Duchess 
Margaret was deprived by Henry of her license to have 1000 oxen 
and 2000 rams exported to her every year. 

* The fishing industry was the school of English mariners, and 
its interests were carefully considered by the king. 



188 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

manufactures were outgrowing the craft gild re- 
gulations and rebelling against restrictions that 
seemed ineffective as well as oppressive. The ap- 
pearance of new ideas about competitive prices 
jarred harshly with the medieval view of a fair 
price. Gild regulations were not framed to harmonise 
new ideas and old methods, and the effort to escape 
from them caused the migration of woollen and linen 
manufacturers into rural districts, which explains 
the constant complaints of the decay of the towns. 
Many of the older towns were in a very bad state, 
with streets deserted and houses falling into ruins. 
Remissions of taxation had to be constantly made to 
the towns that were unable to sustain the burden 
of the old assessment.^ It was Henry's settled 
policy to bring the gilds under his control. In nearly 
every case State interference was exerted in the 
interests of the community against a class of privi- 
leged monopolists. A series of Acts was passed con- 
trolling the craft gilds in particular cases. Thus 
Parliament defined the weight and quality of cloth, 
arranged the details of apprenticeship and inspection 
by gild officials, and settled disputes between rival 
gilds.^ But the most important step of all (and one 
which has attracted but little notice) was taken in 
1504, when the gilds were brought under the control 
of the courts. The Act declared that no gild re- 
gulation should be binding until it had been approved 
by the Chancellor, the Treasurer, the chief justices 

1 Certain leduotions were made every time a subsidy was granted. 
York, Lincoln, and Great Yarmouth were much impoverished. 

« 12 Hen. VU., cap. 4; 11 Hen. VII., cap. 11; 19 Hen. VII., 
cap. 17 ; Stat., ii. 577-8, 637, 662. In 1501 complaints of a scarcity 
of bread, which was thought to be due to the action of the bakers' 
gild, led to the interference of Government. 



U88-1609] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 189 

of the King's Bench and Common Pleas, or the judges 
on circuit.^ It was a measure which secured greater 
uniformity of trade regulations, broke down local 
jealousies, and most important of all perhaps, from 
Henry's point of view, rendered the king's control 
of industry effective.^ 

Henry's dealings with the capital are another 
illustration of his anxiety to break down local ex- 
clusiveness and advance towards the still distant 
ideal of free trade within the kingdom. In 1487 an 
Act of Parliament annulled an ordinance of the 
City of London which actually forbade London 
merchants to frequent markets outside the city.* 
At the same time the old privileges of the city which 
forbade foreigners to buy and sell retail except through 
citizens were confirmed.* Henry shared to the full 
the contemporary jealousy of the alien trader. 

The importance to a statesman of the sixteenth 
century, when the credit system was in its infancy, 
of being able to lay his hand at any moment on a 
considerable hoard of treasure, can hardly be exag- 
gerated. Henry VII. was not the only king in 
Europe who hoarded bullion, but he was the only 
one who made a considerable success of it. The 
possession of accumulated treasure strengthened him 
against rebellion and invasion, and his reputation 
for wealth won him consideration and deference in 
Europe. Taxes, fines, and benevolences replenished 
his hoard, and " golden showers poured down upon 

1 19 Hen. VII., cap. 7 ; Stat., u. 652. 

• A former Act of Henry VI., -which had given the municipal 
authorities control over the gilds, had been almost a dead letter. 
15 Hen. VI., cap. 6. 

» 3 Henry VII., cap. 10 ; Stai., ii. 518-619. 

• Busoh, op. cit; p. 244. 



190 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

the king's treasury." In addition he attempted to 
prevent gold coin and bullion from leaving the 
country. In 1487 he revived the law of Edward 
IV. which forbade alien merchants or merchants 
from Ireland or Guernsey to carry gold out of the 
kingdom, and ordered that they should buy other 
commodities with the money obtained from the sale of 
their goods. ^ This Act, originally limited to seven 
years, was made permanent by Henry VII. Three 
years later alien merchants were forbidden to take 
more than ten crowns out of the country,^ and in 
1504 it was enacted that not more than 6s. 8d. 
should be exported by any merchant to Ireland.^ 
Henry tried to increase the supply of the precious 
metals in another way by giving special rights and 
privileges to the Southampton Metal Staple.* On 
the whole these measures were very successful. A 
long period of peace stopped the drain of gold to the 
Continent, and Henry's considerable subsidies to his 
allies were balanced by the payment of pensions. 

The currency was in a chaotic condition during 
the early years of the reign. Debased, clipped, and 
foreign coins were in circulation, and there was much 
counterfeit money.* Andre spoke of Henry's re- 
form of the currency as one of his twelve herculean 
labours, and he certainly had some success in a 
difficult business.® Stern measures were taken to 

1 17 Edw. IV., cap. 1 ; 3 Hen. VII., cap. 9 ; Stat., ii. 452, 517. Henry 
wisely gave up the attempt to make each merchant bring home 
a certain amount of bullion for each cargo he exported. 

2 4 Hen. VII., cap. 23 ; Stat., ii. 546. 

' 19 Hen. VII., cap. 5 ; Stat., ii. 650-51. 

* L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 373 ; Pat. 6 Hen. VII., pt. i., m. 8, 7 d ; 
Report on MSS. of Lord Middleton (Hist. MSS. Com. 1911), p. 266, 
and App. pp. 614-17. 

* See the complaints recorded in the Cely Papers (Camden Soc), 
p. 159. ' Andr^, AnmdeB, p. 81. 










1 . Gold — sovereign 
2 Silver — groat 



COINAGE OF HENRY VII 

3 Silver — groat 

4. „ Perkin VVarbeck groat 



1486-1509] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 191 

repress the activity of the counterfeit coiners, and 
the forging of foreign as well as of English coin was 
made high treason. Special efforts were made to 
prevent the circulation of the bad Irish coinage.^ 
Finally an Act of 1504 dealt with the whole question 
in a statesmanlike way. The first step to a general 
reform of the coinage was made by abandoning the 
old principle that light or clipped coin was to be 
accepted at its face value. The new law enacted 
that gold coins were only to be accepted when of 
full weight. Clipped coins were to be refused, and 
new coins were to be stamped with a circle round 
the edge to prevent clipping.^ The reform of the 
silver coinage did not go so far, and light (though 
not clipped) silver coins were to be accepted if they 
bore the royal stamp. A proclamation of the follow- 
ing year made the clipping of coin punishable by 
death, and a false coiner was hanged at Tyburn as 
a warning.^ Modern coinage may be said to begin 
in this reign, the sovereign being issued for the first 
time in 1490, and the shilling in 1504. The new 
coinage has been described as " the best specimen 
of metallic portraiture coined in England since the 
time of Constantine." * 

The king's reforming hand dealt also with the 
standard weights and measures, which were in a state 
of confusion equal to that of the coinage. Several 

1 3 Hen. VII., cap. 9 ; 4 Hen. VII., cap. 18, cap. 23 ; Stai., ii. 518, 
541-2, 546. Much was also done by way of proclamation and Orders 
in Council. L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 372, 376, 377, 379. 

» 19 Hen. VII., cap. 5 ; Stat., ii. 650. 

' L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 379 ; City Chron., pp. 259-61. 

* Traill, Soc. England, ii. 685. The early coinage of Henry VII. 
has the seated figure of the king robed and crowned on the obverse 
and the Tudor rose on the reverse ; the later coinage has the king's 
portrait in profile. 



192 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

statutes were passed which, like many others before 
them, declared one standard to be obligatory through- 
out the kingdom ; but, unlike the earlier efforts, they 
were followed up by practical attempts to make the 
standard measures known. Metal copies of them 
were provided for distribution by the members oi 
Parliament to their boroughs, and in many ports 
King's Beams were set up. Owing to the increased 
power of the central government the laws ol 
*Henry VII. were carried into effect, and the use 
of the authorised measures was enforced.^ 

Henry shared the general dislike of usury, which 
was regarded as a striking instance of an attempt to 
sacrifice public welfare to private gain. To lend 
money for interest was looked upon as a heinous 
offence, an unchristian attempt to obtain profit where 
no profit was due, by speculating in a "breed oi 
barren metal." Quite early in the reign, in 1487, an 
Act was passed to restrain the " dampnable bargayns 
groundyt in usurye, colorde by the name of neweCheve- 
saunce, contrarie to the lawe of naturell justis, to the 
comon hurt of this land." Usurious bargains, that 
is, all bargains in which a percentage was allowed 
for the use of money, were declared void, offenders 
being subject to a penalty of £100, " reservyng to 
the Church the correcion of their soules according tc 
the lawes of the same." The Chancellor was given 
jurisdiction in cities and boroughs, and justices oi 
the peace in the counties. A later Act dealt with 
the same subject, and also forbade loans being 
secured upon land by way of a rent-charge.^ 

1 7 Hen. VII., oap. 3 ; 11 Hen. VXt., cap. 4 ; 12 Hen. VII., cap. 5 
Stat; ii. 551-2, 570-3, 637-8. Many delinquents who used falsi 
measures were brought before the Star Chamber. See Star Ghamhe\ 
Cases (Selden Soo.), i. 69-71. 

» 3 Hen. VH., cap. 6 ; 11 Hen. VII., oap. 8 ; Stat., ii. 614-6, 574 



U85-1509] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 193 

In the reign of Henry VII. we may see the begin- 
ning of the paternal government both by legislation y^ 
and ordinance characteristic of the Tudor dynasty. 
There are many examples of Parliamentary regula- 
tion of prices, the theory in most cases being that 
the retail traders were making unfairly large profits ; i 
the articles affected ranged from hats and caps to 
long-bows, the price of these latter being limited to 
check the threatened supersession of the character- 
istic weapon of England by the cross-bow.^ Parlia- 
ment had long ago undertaken the responsibility of 
regulating wages, and in 1495 a comprehensive 
measure fixing the maximum rates and ordering the 
payment of lower rates wherever they were prevalent 
was passed. Subsequent legislation affords evidence 
that the State was gradually extending its sphere of 
action. Acts of Parliament were passed regulating 
many of the details of employment, how many hours 
a day workmen were to work, how long they were 
to spend on their meals, and so on. A workman who 
left his job before he finished it was to go to prison 
for a month and pay a fine of £1, and holidays were 
not to be paid for.^ Legislation also regulated ap- 
prenticeship, forbidding cards and dice except at 
Christmas, and so forth. Examples of the active 
control of Parliament over the conditions of industry 
might be multiplied indefinitely. Parliament stepped 
in to prevent manufacturers singeing their fustians, 
to arrange the details of the leather trade, to prescribe 

1 4 Hen. VII., cap. 8, cap. 9 ; 3 Hen. VII., cap. 13 ; 19 Hen. VII., 
cap. 4 ; Stat., ii. 521, 533-4, 649. 

a 11 Hen. VII., cap. 2, cap. 22 ; 12 Hen. VII., cap. 3 ; Stai., ii. 
569, 585-6, 637. The Act of 1497 cancelled the clauses fixing 
maximum rates, perhaps, as Dr. Busch suggests (p. 265), because 
wages had remained so stationary that the clauses were no longer 
necessary. 

N 



194 HENRY VII [1485-15( 

the way in which feather beds should be stuffed, i 
compel all butchers, except those of Berwick an 
Carlisle, to do their butchering out of doors. ^ Th 
minute supervision of social conditions was extende 
over much wider ground later in the reign, when tt 
Crown devised machinery for controlling the era! 
gilds. It is not too much to say that by the end ( 
the reign the influence of Henry the Seventh's pej 
sonality touched the lives of his subjects at almos 
every point. 

Changes in the standard of comfort have mad 
it difficult to estimate the social conditions c 
labour in the reign. In some respects the labourt 
was very well off. Working eight hours a day — th 
ordinary length of a working day in the fifteent 
century — he could earn two or three shillings a day 
house rent and fuel were cheap, and the average cos 
of necessaries was about one-twelfth of their cos 
to-day. There were many opportunities for amus( 
ment, and many compulsory holidays ; ^ rural sporl 
and pastimes flourished, and nearly every parish ha 
gilds or fraternities which gave dramatic performance 
Movement from place to place, however, was diff 
cult, and roads and bridges were much neglectec 
suffering from the decline in monastic activity 
England was ravaged by plague several times durin 
the reign. There were two outbreaks of the new an 
mysterious sweating sickness in 1485 and 1508, whicl 
beginning in London, spread over the rest of Englanc 
In 1499-1500 an epidemic of the more familie 

1 1 Hen. VII., cap. 5; 4 Hen. VII., cap. 3; 11 Hen. VII., cap. 2' 
19 Hen. VII., cap. 19; Stat., ii. 502-4, 527-8, 691, 663-4. 

' The gilds made stringent rules forbidding working on Chur( 
festivals. 



1485-1609] COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY 195 

plague wrought great havoc in London, and there 
were less serious outbreaks in 1487, 1503, and 1504.i 
The chief hardships came from the clashing of new 
ideas and old habits. The old tie between lord and 
man had not yet lost the personal character that 
made the master feel responsible for the welfare of 
his dependants, but the new relations between 
capital and labour were giving a changed colour to 
society in the flourishing industrial districts. In 
agriculture and industry historic methods were being 
abandoned. 

The Crown drew to itself more and more power. 
The strange thing is that this great extension of State 
control was almost uniformly beneficent in effect, as 
it was in intention. We cannot point to a single one 
of Henry's commercial statutes that was designed to 
forward any selfish interests of the king or his 
advisers. The underlying principle of all the indus- 
trial and agrarian legislation was to provide for the 
maintenance of the effective population upon which 
all national ambitions depended. Idleness, " the 
cause and root of all evil," the parent of poverty and 
crime, was the bugbear of the Tudor statesmen. On 
the other hand, the king's aim was not the modern 
one of alleviating the lot of the worker. He showed 
no altruistic desire to add to his people's happiness. 
Disorder and violence, the symptoms of economic 
disease, were kept in check, but the root of the disease 
lay beyond the king's reach and could be touched by 
Time alone. Henry's aim was to make his kingdom 
strong and powerful, and the happiness of the mass 
of the people found no place in this robust ideal. 

1 In 1497 there was an outbreak of a " wonderful sickness called 
the Spaynysh pokkes." City Chronicle, 217. 



CHAPTER VI 

FOREIGN AFFAIRS, 1497-1503— MARRIAGE ALLIANCES 

The failure of Perkin Warbeck's attempt removed a 
thread which had been bound up in the tangled web 
of European diplomacy for many years. For the 
future foreign affairs were simpler and infinitely easier 
for the king. The position he had won for himself 
by tireless effort in the face of a dangerous con- 
spiracy, supported at one time or another by nearly 
all the royal houses of Europe, could easily be main- 
tained and improved now that the pretender was 
defeated and his supporters discredited. The 
dramatic interest lessens. There is no longer the 
atmosphere of suspense, the straining of every faculty 
to win from a reluctant Europe some recognition of 
the power and influence of the upstart king of a 
weak and divided nation. Already, by years of toil 
and anxiety, the Tudor dynasty was rooted in 
England, and England had been given a place in 
European politics. 

Henry's strength and prosperity was beginning to 
attract the attention of foreign observers, and had 
been the subject of some comment in this critical 
year of his fortunes. The states of Venice and Milan 
both realised the value of Henry's friendship. An 
ambassador from Venice, Andrea Trivisano, was de- 
spatched in the summer of 1497 to assure Henry of 
the love the Signory bore him, congratulate him 



1497] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 197 

on his " very great successes," and express their joy 
at his joining the Holy League. He was instructed 
"to make great demonstrations of love on behalf of 
the Republic " to the queen, Morton, and Prince 
Arthur. Further, he was ordered to send news of 
England. News indeed he sent, but not of the most 
reliable, when on his journey, ^ but as soon as he 
reached England and the court his tone changed. 
He wrote that Henry's rule was " to be considered 
much strengthened and perpetual" by the suppression 
of the disturbances. " The kingdom of England," 
he wrote, " has never for many years been so obedient 
to its sovereign as it is at present to his Majesty the 
king." More detailed information to the same effect 
was sent by the Milanese envoy. He reported that 
Henry was " admirably well informed and thoroughly 
acquainted with the affairs of Italy." Even the 
courtiers knew so much about Italian affairs that he 
fancied himself at Rome. One sentence as to the 
state of affairs in England towards the end of this 
year is worth quoting. " The kingdom is perfectly 
stable by reason first of the king's wisdom, whereof 
every one stands in awe ; and secondly, on account 
of the king's wealth, for I am informed that he has 
upwards of six millions of gold, and it is said that 
he puts by annually five hundred thousand ducats." 
He went on to speak of Henry's diplomatic skill, 
that, for instance, he had kept the French ambassadors 
who wished to visit Scotland in England, entertained 
them magnificently, and sent them home laden with 
presents, but without seeing Scotland. The envoy 
commented on the assistance Papal protection had 
been to Henry ; the rebellious Cornishmen had felt the 

• See above, p. 151. 



198 HENRY VII [1*97 

efficacy of Papal censures. "All who eat grain garnered 
since the rebellion or drink beer brewed with this year's 
crops, die as if they had taken poison, and hence it 
is publicly reported that the king is under the pro- 
tection of God eternal." ^ The Spanish ambassador, 
de Ayala, wrote a few months later to the same effect. 
He reported that Henry's crown was undisputed, and 
that he was complete master in England, observing 
with some insight that he showed a desire to " govern 
England after the French fashion." The settled 
policy by which Henry made himself the first of a 
line of despots did not escape shrewd observers. The 
troubles he had passed through, however, had already 
left their mark upon the king. " The king," wrote 
Ayala, " looks old for his years but young for the 
sorrowful life he has led." 

The summer of 1497 saw also the departure of the 
Cabot expedition. 2 This setting out of British mer- 
chants for unknown seas in this year of invasion and 
tumult emphasises the point at which the strife be- 
tween medieval and modern influences, which per- 
vades the whole reign, began to incline in favour of 
the latter. Henceforward England begins to look 
westward with her spreading commerce, and draw 
away from the medieval background of " privy con- 
spiracy and rebellion." 

After 1497 — ^the turning-point of the reign in so 
many spheres — foreign politics become comparatively 
simple and stable. Diplomacy was to be dominated 
for many years by the attempts of the kings of 
France and Spain to win the alliance of England 
with a view to advancing or checking French designs 
in Italy. It is a premature sketch of the system of 

1 Brown, Fen. Cal., No. 751. ^ See below, p. 320. 



1497] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 199 

the " balance of power " later elaborated by Wolsey. 
The outcome — after many waverings — was the com- 
pletion of the alliance between England and Spain 
which lasted for forty years and brought such weighty 
results. 

But while the ultimate issue is simple, the negotia- 
tions which led up to it were as complex as ever, and 
the lack of dramatic interest is heightened by the 
maze of trivialities, and the wearisome discussions of 
foregone conclusions preserved in the State papers. '^ 
Already in 1496 the principle of a marriage alliance 
between England and Spain had been accepted on 
both sides, but many years were still to be spent 
bickering over the princess's marriage portion, the 
extent of the English lands which were to form her 
dowry, and even over her trousseau and jewels. 

In negotiations of this kind Ferdinand and Henry 
were very fairly matched. In both, as they grew 
older, a habit of dealing carefully with money de- 
generated into stinginess; both seemed to have revelled 
in an atmosphere of squalid haggling fitter for the 
counter of a pawnbroker than for the antechambers 
of great kings. The spirit of vulgarity pervading 
these negotiations was personified in de Puebla, the 
Spanish ambassador, who lived in England perma- 
nently from 1494 to 1509. A mean, spiteful, avari- 
cious man, begging, whining, and backbiting, without 
a shred of personal pride or oflicial dignity, he 
brought his high office into disrepute, and was a butt 
for the sneers of the English court. One of his 
fellow-countrymen reported him to be " avaricious 
and a notorious usurer, an enemy of truth, full of 
lies and a calumniator of all honest men, vainglorious 

'^ Berg., Spanish Gal., vol. i. pp. 159-472 ; Brown, Fen. Gal., vol. i. 



200 HENRY VII [US 

and ostentatious. It is generally said at court tha 
de Puebla comes a-begging. He is often glad c 
the bad success of his masters." This unpleasan 
picture was not a bit overdrawn. The ambassado 
of Spain lived squalidly in a " vile and miserabl 
inn of bad repute," hanging round the court to sav 
himself the expense of meals, though he made larg 
sums by taking bribes from Spanish merchants ti 
push their interests with the English king. All th 
time, in spite of his deformity, he was flattering him 
self with the hope that his master would allow hiii 
to accept the English bishopric offered him by Henry 
or the " honourable marriage " with a wealth; 
English bride arranged for him by the same patron 
It seems strange that the power and dignity of Spaii 
lay so long in these unworthy hands, but Henry seem 
to have had some kind of affection for him, and t( 
have treated him with singular confidence. His pei 
describes the ambassador as " industrious, vigilant 
and true and adroit in all negotiations entrusted t( 
him," and he gave him many marks of favour. 

The strong personal influence exerted by all thi 
Tudors brought de Puebla early under Henry's sway 
and a keen Spanish observer saw that his popularity 
with the king was due to his pliancy. ^ His absun 
vanity made him the dupe of Henry's flatteries. Hi 
letters to Ferdinand echoed the king's opinions an( 
championed his point of view. He even concealet 
important news from his master. The Spanish mer 
chants complained bitterly of de Puebla's neglect o 
their interests, and asserted that he deliberately los 
the opportunity of wringing commercial concession 
from Henry at a time when he was " in such diffi 
culties that he would not have refused the half o 

1 Berg., Spanish Cal., pp. 162-3. 



1497] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 201 

his revenues if de Puebla had asked it." His de- 
spatches read hke those of a confidential minister of 
the EngHsh king rather than of a Spanish ambassador. 
Ferdinand and Isabella were not deceived. As early 
as 1498 they suspected that " de Puebla was en- 
tirely in the interest of King Henry." One of their 
envoys, Londono, wrote, "He is in such subjection 
that he dares not say a word but what he thinks 
will please the king. ... He is a great partisan of 
the King of England." But it was convenient for 
Ferdinand and Isabella to have an agent who re- 
peated all the gossip of the English court, and they 
guarded against de Puebla's over great submission to 
Henry by putting delicate negotiations in charge of 
an ambassador of a much higher stamp, who became 
the mark for de Puebla's jealous railings. He had not 
even the wit to conceal his jealousy of Ayala. Bitter 
recriminations against him fill his letters. He in- 
sinuated that Henry would be glad if Ayala left the 
country, " although he had written to the contrary," ^ 
and proudly boasted about his own great influence 
over Henry and the " wonders " he performed in spite 
of " superhuman difficulties." Distrusted and despised 
by both Spaniards and English, he yet remained in 
England in nominal control of all the negotiations 
between the two countries for many years. ^ 

Towards the end of 1496 a peaceful tendency had 

' Londono'a report of Ayala is very different. He was on good 
terms with the king and the whole coitrt, and was the only man in 
the kingdom who really knew anything about Scotland, " all others 
flying into a passion as soon as the name of Scotland is pronounced " 
{ibid., p. 161). He reported that de Puebla was the cause of the 
disgraceful scenes between the two ambassadors. 

' See Berg., Spanish Cal., passim, especially pp. 109, 112, 120, 135, 
146, 147, 148, 152, 155, 158, 189, 191, 195-7, 228, 232, 250, 277, 281, 
294; Busch, op. cii., pp. 135, 351-2. 



202 HENRY VII [1497-8 

become visible in Europe. The shadow of French 
ascendancy in Italy passed away after the successes 
won by the Spanish infantry in the kingdom of 
Naples. Now that the danger was over the Holy 
League was ready for peace, and Spanish successes 
in the Pyrenees made France anxious to treat. On 
27th February 1496-7 a truce between France and 
Spain was made, in which the other members of the 
League were included shortly afterwards.^ Henry 
was prepared to go further than this. Peaceful re- 
lations with France were profitable as well as pleasant. 
In May 1497 a commercial treaty strengthened the 
bond between the two countries. Henry's diplomacy 
had put England into a very favourable position. 
His entrance into the Holy League had brought him 
invaluable help in the most anxious year of his reign. 
He had gained the prestige of an alliance blessed by 
the Pope, but his obligations under it had been merely 
nominal, and he remained a defensive member of an 
offensive league. One power alone stood in the way 
of a general pacification. Maximilian remained 
obstinately hostile to France, and on the sudden 
death of Charles VIII. of France (7th April 1498), 
he prepared for war. The League, however, made 
no move ; he dared not attack France without an 
ally, and he was forced to swallow his hatred of 
Henry and make overtures for his alliance. He 
worked hard to revive England's grudge against her 
old enemy, suggested the recovery of the lost pro- 
vinces, and promised " to perform wonders in the war 
against France." Henry was not to be drawn. He 
had seen too much of the contrast between the 

1 Beig., Spanish Cal.,pp. 118, 127-8, 142; Biisoh, p. 128, note 2, 
giving references to Zuiita. 



1498] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 203 

promises and performances of the King of the Romans. 
He did not conceal the fact that he was not over-con- 
fident in the " constancy, veracity, and perseverance " 
of his would-be ally, and he answered with ironical 
politeness that he " should like to see the King of 
the Romans at war with France, but only by way of 
witnessing his wonderful feats, and not in order to 
take part himself in the enterprise." ^ The prospect, 
however, of seeing Brittany again independent was 
alluring, and Henry sent spies into the province to 
see whether the revival of national spirit in Brittany 
would lead to an attempt at separation. His hopes 
were disappointed. The new King of France lost no 
time in securing his hold upon Brittany by divorcing 
his own wife and marrying the widow of Charles VIII. 
Amicable relations between England and France were 
not disturbed. A solemn dirge or obsequy was sung 
in St. Paul's Cathedral for the dead King of France. 
De Puebla tried to make Henry break with France, 
but in vain. He reported to his master that owing 
to the tribute paid by the King of France to Henry, 
and the pensions given by him to English nobles, 
Henry valued his friendship more than the whole of 
the Indies ; the new King of France had shown 
every wish to please Henry, had undertaken all the 
obligations of his predecessor, the pensions and so on. 
On 14th July the treaty of Etaples was confirmed by 
Henry's agents in Paris, and the clause relating to 
rebels was made more binding than ever.^ The 
thunders of the Papal chair were invoked on either of 

1 Berg., Spamiah Cal., i. p. 157. 

* City Chron., 223 ; Berg., Spanish Cal., 151 ; Excerpta Historica, 
118 ; Rymer, xii. 681-95, 706-7, 710-12, 736-8, 762-5 ; Busoh, op.cit., 
p. 129. 



204 HENRY VII [1498 

the parties who shoiild break a treaty which seemed 
to bring the vision of universal peace in sight. The 
example set by Henry was speedily followed in 
Europe. On 2nd August the Archduke Philip made 
peace with France and renounced his father's claim 
to the duchy of Burgundy. His peaceful attitude, 
very popular in Flanders, was distasteful to Maxi- 
milian, who was carrying on hostilities in a desultory 
way. A few days later, Ferdinand of Aragon, who 
had been the brains of the Holy League, also came 
to terms with France, a treaty being signed at 
Marcoussis on 5th August. Thus the whole of 
Europe, with the exception of Maximilian, had given 
guarantees for the maintenance of peace, and even 
he at last recognised the impossibility of the position, 
withdrew his troops and made peace with France, in 
which he was followed by Venice. Thus the Holy 
League broke up.^ 

Meanwhile the Anglo-Spanish negotiations were 
revealing a much firmer attitude on Henry's part in 
spite of the Perkin Warbeck complication. By the 
treaty of 1st October 1496 it had been provided 
that the marriage between Arthur and Katherine 
should take place when the prince had completed his 
fourteenth year, that Katherine's marriage portion 
was to consist of 200,000 crowns (4s. 2d.), half to be 
paid within ten days of the marriage and the re- 
mainder within two years. The last quarter might 
be paid in plate and jewels. The dower of the 
Princess of Wales was to consist of one-third of the 
revenues of Wales, Cornwall, and Chester, and was 
to be increased to the usual amount when she became 

1 Even the Duohess Margaret wrote to Henry asking for pardon 
and promising obedience. Berg., Spanish Cal., p. 196. 



1497] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 205 

Queen of England. Her rights of succession in 
Castile and Aragon were saved, and a separate 
document signed by Henry VII. assured the suc- 
cession to the throne of England to Arthur's children 
if he should die in Henry's lifetime. ^ This treaty did 
not completely satisfy Ferdinand. It contained none 
of the commercial concessions he hoped for and did 
not bind Henry to an offensive and defensive alliance 
with Spain. The efforts of Spanish diplomatists 
were concentrated upon obtaining some modifica- 
tion of the treaty. Ferdinand first tried to induce 
Henry to break with France by using the old 
lure of the speedy settlement of the marriage. But 
this charm no longer worked. Henry, well aware 
that the marriage had now been definitely decided on 
by the Spanish court, became less eager for its imme- 
diate because he felt sure of its ultimate fulfilment. 
He realised the strength of his position, and even 
the critical events of the year 1497 did not weaken 
his attitude. It is from the other side that the 
flattering expressions come. Isabella writes of Henry 
as " a prince of great virtue, firmness and constancy," 
and hopes for a more intimate friendship with him 
after the marriage. 

Ferdinand seemed bent on giving every proof 
of his friendly feelings. He wrote that the absence 
of harmony between Henry and the archduke 
weighed on his mind; he welcomed the announce- 
ment of his intention to enter the Holy League, 
forwarded evidence about the claims of the Duke of 
York, and ordered de Ayala to use all his influence 
to reconcile Henry and James of Scotland. Henry 
was assured that by the marriage of the Infanta 
' Ibid., pp. 129, 130. 



206 HENRY VII [1497 

Juana to the Archduke Philip he would have hence- 
forth a daughter in Flanders.^ Isabella wrote later 
that she " confided in Henry as she would in a 
brother." ^ Henry's firm attitude led to further 
concessions. War with France, the original object 
of the treaty, which had been strongly urged upon 
Henry at first, was dropped when it appeared that 
he would not bind himself. The treaty was too 
valuable to Ferdinand to be jeopardised by obstinacy, 
and in January 1497 Ferdinand and Isabella ratified 
it.^ A month later the arrival at Southampton 
of the Princess Margaret of Austria — she was on 
her way to Spain to join her husband and was driven 
in by bad weather — gave Henry an opportunity of 
showing his friendship. She received a very cordial 
letter from him. " The arrival of his own daughter 
could not give him more joy," he wrote. He placed 
at her disposal his person, his realm, and all that 
were to be found in it. They were not to spare 
him and his realms, for they would render him a 
very great service by accepting everything from 
him.* 

But these fair words did not augur any concession, 
and it was not until July, the month of Perkin 
Warbeck's adventure, that Henry at last ratified 
the marriage treaty.* The betrothal of Arthur and 
Katherine took place a month later by proxy at 
Woodstock, where the court was established for 
the early autumn. ^ The Spanish alliance was of 
immense practical value during this year of difficulty, 

1 Berg., Spanish Cal., p. 124. 

2 lUd., Nos. 167, 168. a Ibid., No. 173. 
" Rymer, xii. 658-66 ; Berg., pp. 129-130. 

5 Ibid., Nos. 167-8, and p. 132. 



1498] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 207 

especially in the Scotch negotiations.^ Henry re- 
ceived cordial assurances of Spanish support at the 
time of Warbeck's landing in Cornwall. Ferdinand 
and Isabella offered to despatch a fleet, and hailed 
the defeat of the adventurer and the " great victory 
of their beloved brother, Henry," with expressions 
of apparently sincere delight, announcing that " they 
had always known that he [Warbeck] was an im- 
postor." 2 On 4th February 1497-8, the treaty was 
ratified for the second time by Ferdinand and Isa- 
bella,* and in July, after a dispensation had been 
obtained from the Pope, Arthur and Katherine were 
married by proxy with great solemnity, de Puebla 
representing the princess.* Henry expressed his joy 
at this event with a vigour that meant a great deal 
from a man of his unenthusiastic temperament. He 
swore " on his royal faith " that he and the queen 
were more satisfied with this marriage than with any 
great dominions they might have gained with the 
daughter of another prince. On another occasion 
Henry laid his hand on his heart and swore " by the 
faith of his heart," that if any one of his " best beloved 
subjects said anything against the King or Queen of 
Spain he would not esteem him any longer." He and 
the queen had a playful dispute about the letters 
they received from their Spanish " brother and 
sister." Henry professed to want to carry them 
about with him all the time, but the queen did not 
wish to give hers up.^ Henry and the Prince of 

1 See above, pp. 144-5. Henry showed his gratitude by writing 
a very graceful letter to the Queen of Spain. " He loved them so 
much," he wrote, " that it is impossible to imagine a greater and 
more sincere affection." Berg., Spanish Gal., p. 146. 

2 Berg., Spanish Col., i. p. 147. ^ Ihid., No. 189. 
» Ihid., pp. 148, 160, 168, 185, 190, 209-10. ^ Ibid., p. 190. 



208 HENRY VII [1498 

Wales both wrote personal letters to Spain, and the 
king sent with his a curious gift — twenty-four 
" blessed rings," one dozen of them being gold and 
one dozen silver. Several young Spanish noblemen 
came over to England to enter the Prince of Wales's 
service, while an Englishman was recommended for 
the service of the Princess Katherine.^ 

In the midst of these rejoicings Henry had an un- 
pleasant reminder of the dangers he had passed 
through. On June 9, 1498, Parkin Warbeck escaped 
from court. He fled towards the coast, but, finding 
the roads watched, took refuge in the monastery at 
Sheen. The prior interceded with the king. Perkin's 
life was spared, but the king, " that had an high 
stomach and could not hate any that he despised, 
bid take him forth and set the knave in the stocks." 
After being thus publicly humiliated, and repeating 
to the crowd the confession formerly made to the 
mayor and corporation, he was taken to the Tower, 
and there lodged in close confinement, " so that he 
saw neither sun nor moon." ^ The rigour of his im- 
prisonment had such an effect on his health that de 
Puebla, who was present a few months later at an 
interview between Henry and the Flemish ambassa- 
dor, at which Perkin appeared, thought that his days 
were numbered. 

In July Henry received another Spanish envoy — 
Londoiio — with marked cordiality. " The king," we 
are told, " made a remarkably fine speech in French," 
and Morton made a Latin oration. Henry offered 
to serve Spain with his person and with his army. 
" He said it with words which manifested great love 

1 Berg., Spanish Gal., Nos. 229, 233. 

2 Ibid., pp. 152, 156, 185-6 j GUy Ghron., p. 223; HaU, 488-9. 



1498] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 209 

and affection." ^ De Puebla reported Henry's wish 
that the Princess Katherine should talk French to 
the Archduchess Margaret so that she might be able 
to speak the language fluently when she came to 
England, " as the English ladies could not speak 
Latin, much less Spanish." The princess was also 
advised to accustom herself to drink wine. "The 
water of England is not drinkable," wrote de Puebla, 
" and even if it were the climate would not allow the 
drinking of it." 

On 10th July a supplementary treaty of alliance 
between England and Spain was signed. The 
articles dealing with commerce and the harbouring 
of rebels had been slightly altered, and Ferdinand and 
Isabella complained that de Puebla had shown him- 
self very neglectful of their interests, and that he had 
exceeded the powers given to him ; they expressed their 
anger and astonishment, and ordered him to follow 
their instructions "without transgressing a single word 
for the future." He was to consult Ayala in all things, 
and regard him as joint ambassador at the court. ^ 

But at this moment, in ominous contrast to the 
general atmosphere of success and self-congratulation, 
the darker thread that was never long absent from 
the tangled skein of Henry's life reappeared. 

The name and claims of the young Earl of War- 
wick, who had been dragging out his miserable life 
in the Tower, sprang into sudden prominence through 
the appearance of another impostor. An Augustinian 
friar, one Patrick, persuaded Ralph Wilford, a boy of 

1 Berg., Spanish Cal., i. pp. 154^6. 

2 The treaty, however, was confirmed by Ferdinand and Isabella 
on 20th Januaiy 1500. Bymer, xii. 741-7 ; Berg., Spanish Gal., 
pp. 210-12. 

O 



210 HENRY VII [U99 

mean birth who was a favourite pupil, to personate 
the imprisoned earl, promising " that he would easily 
make him King of England." Though this plot was 
hatched in Kent, which had a reputation for sup- 
porting " phantastical fantasyes," it failed ignomini- 
ously. The king's spies got wind of it. The friar's 
miserable dupe was hanged on Shrove Tuesday {12th 
February 1498-9), but Patrick, owing to the benefit 
of clergy, escaped with perpetual imprisonment. ^ 

The plot, a slight thing in itself, had weighty 
results. The reappearance of the spectre of con- 
spiracy had shaken Henry's growing confidence. His 
Celtic blood inclined him to belief in prevalent super- 
stitions. In March 1499 he consulted a priest who 
was reputed to be a seer, and who had foretold the 
deaths of Edward IV. and Richard III. Henry asked 
him in what manner his end would come, and the 
answer that his life would be in great danger all 
through the year, and that the kingdom harboured 
political plots, seems to have made a deep impression 
on the king. Ayala reported that these two weeks 
had aged him so that he looked twenty years older. 
He was growing very devout, and had heard a sermon 
every day during Lent.^ Though the court was gay 
with rejoicings over the birth of another prince, 
though ambassadors from France had just brought 
loving messages and presents from Louis XII., and 
though the long dispute with Flanders had just been 
settled by the treaty of May 1499,* the king himself 
was ill at eaSe. 

' City Chron., p. 225. The boy's body was left hanging on the 
gallows vmtil the following Saturday night as a warning to the 
people. 

2 Berg., Spanish Gcd., i., No. 239. » See above, p. 168. 



1499] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 211 

Another cause of alarm was the flight of Edmund 
de la Pole, Earl of Suffolk, a nephew of Edward IV., 
who in spite of his brother's rebellion ^ had been re- 
stored by Henry to a portion of the family estates. 
He had glittered in court tournaments, and won some- 
thing of Henry's favour, but the king's generosity 
failed to win allegiance. In the summer of 1499, 
Suffolk, offended at being indicted for a manslaughter, 
fled to Calais and thence to St. Omer. Henry feared 
that he would put himself under the archduke's pro- 
tection, and actually sent envoys to ask him to return. 
He assented and returned to court. Henry's patience 
seemed inexhaustible.^ 

But some little time elapsed before the danger that 
seemed to be weighing on the king's spirits came to 
a head. If Henry really believed, as he appears to 
have done, that a great plot was being matured, he 
may have regarded the Spanish marriage as a bul- 
wark against the threatened danger. Arrangements 
for it were pushed on, and a second proxy marriage 
between Katherine and Arthur took place at Bewdley, 
Prince Arthur's Herefordshire seat, on Whit Sunday, 
19th May 1499.* The prince, " in a loud and clear 
voice," expressed his joy in contracting this mar- 
riage " not only in obedience to the Pope and to 
King Henry, but also from his deep and sincere love 

1 John, Earl of Lincoln, had been slain at Stoke 1487. His father, 
John, Duke of Sufiolk, died in 1491, and was succeeded by his son 
Edmund, who in consequence of his comparative poverty was 
restored to the rank of Earl, not Duke of SuHolk. 

2 Bot. Pari., vi. i14r-7, 546 ; L. and P. Hen. VII., Intro, xxxix., 
i. 129-134, 392, 394-8, ii. 377 ; City Chron., p. 201 ; Brown, Ven. Cal., 
Nos. 795-6. Gairdner and Busch have corrected Polydor Vergil's 
errors. See Busch, p. 363, and the note by Dr. Gairdner, p. 441, as 
to the order of these events. ^ Berg., Spanish Cal., pp. 209-10. 



212 HENRY VII [M99 

for the princess his wife," and thereupon his lord 
chamberlain joined the hands of Prince Arthur and 
de Puebla, who again stood proxy for Katherine. 

Before the end of the year England was ringing 
with the news of another desperate Yorkist plot. 
The very name of the Earl of Warwick seemed to 
have power to throw the black shadow of conspiracy 
and dethronement across the king's path, and it was 
this constant anxiety, working on a mind darkened 
by superstitious terrors and the recent sinister revela- 
tions of underground conspiracy, which explains, 
though it cannot justify, the judicial murder which 
stains the king's reputation. The king's long patience 
gave way at last, and the mere rumour of a plot 
between Warbeck and Warwick sealed the fate of 
both. No one, reading the brief account of the con- 
spiracy that survives, can doubt that the earl was 
condemned on trumped-up evidence. His dangerous 
name outweighed his youth and innocence. 

The evidence given at the Guildhall, probably by 
one Robert Cleymound, who seems to have turned 
informer, 1 was to the effect that the Earl of Warwick, 
with Astwood, a former adherent of Warbeck's, and 
Cleymound, while in the Tower, on the 2nd of August 
" confederated and agreed that the earl should assume 
the royal dignity and elect himself king, and falsely 
and traitorously depose, deprive, and slay the king." 
Subsidiary evidence was given to the effect that the 
earl had plotted to seize the Tower and carry away 
the jewels from the king's treasury, issue a public pro- 
clamation promising 12d. a day to any one who joined 

' In spite of his share ia the plot Clesrmound was afterwards 
pardoned. Busch, op. cit., i. 120. 



14991 FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 213 

him, set fire to the gunpowder stored within the 
Tower, and then escape beyond the seas in the con- 
fusion and bide his time to dethrone the king. A 
certain Thomas Ward, clerk, was alleged to have 
been won over to the plot by Robert Cleymound, 
who showed him a wooden image as a token from 
Warwick. Cleymound also declared that he had re- 
ceived a cloak and a velvet jacket from the earl. 
It has been suggested that these objects, which seem 
to be very clumsily dragged into the story, were 
meant to be exhibited as tangible proofs of a guilt 
that apparently rested only on the evidence of an 
informer, but the jury found the proof sufficient, and 
sent the earl for trial by his peers. The character 
of some further evidence, which attempted to impli- 
cate Warwick in a treasonable league with Perkin 
Warbeck, throws still more doubt upon the earl's 
guilt. It was alleged that Warwick had conspired 
on August 2nd " to set him (Peter Warbeck) at large 
and create and constitute him, the said Peter, to be 
King and Governor of England." This obviously con- 
flicts with the assertion that on the same August 2nd 
Warwick concocted a plan to make himself king. 
The informer did not prove that Warwick and War- 
beck ever saw each other ; the story was that the 
earl knocked upon the floor of his chamber in the 
Tower and said to Warbeck, who was confined in the 
cell below, " Perkin, be of good cheer and comfort." 
Cleymound, who from his freedom of access to both 
prisoners seems to have been a warder in the Tower, 
promised to hand Perkin on the following day a 
letter from an adherent, " one James, a clerk of 
Flanders." According to the informer's story, the 
earl, two days later, made a hole in the floor of his 



214 HENRY VII [U99 

chamber by which he could communicate with Perkin, 
but the only purpose for which he undertook the 
considerable feat of overcoming the massive masonry 
of the Tower — in the course of a single day, be it 
remembered — was " to comfort the said Perkin in 
his treason by saying to him, ' How goes it with you ? 
Be of good cheer.' " ^ 

This lame story, with a few other adornments, the 
suggestion that Perkin had accused his fellow-con- 
spirators to the king and council, and so on, bears on 
the face of it the secret motive of the whole busi- 
ness — ^to involve the last heir of the House of York 
and the impostor who had played the part of the 
White Rose in a common ruin. 

On 21st November the Earl of Warwick, then 
aged twenty-one, was brought to trial before the 
Lord High Steward, the Earl of Oxford, who pre- 
sided over a court formed of the Duke of Bucking- 
ham, the Earls of Northumberland, Kent, Surrey, 
and Essex, sixteen barons, and the Prior of St. 
John of Jerusalem. He pleaded guilty and was 
condemned to death as a traitor. Perkin Warbeck, 
John Walter alias Attwater, formerly Mayor of Cork, 
and his son, and James Taylor had been condemned 
to death previously, but the sentence was only 
carried out on Warbeck and Attwater. On the 
scaffold at Tyburn Perkin confessed his guilt, and 
after telling the story of his imposture to the assembled 
multitude, he " took his dethe meekly." His head 
was cut oft after death and set upon London Bridge. 
The meteoric career of the White Rose was over. In 
Bacon's words, " It was one of the longest plays of 
the kind that hath been in memory, and might 
1 Baga de Secretis, Thirty-seventh Report of Defuiy Keeper. 



1499] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 215 

perhaps have had another end if he had not met 
with a king both wise, stout, and fortunate." 

The romantic career of the adventurer is full of 
contrasts. Gay and self-confident, he had played his 
r61e so long that he had almost come to believe in 
it himself. His personal charm had won him love 
and loyalty, he had fraternised with princes and 
borne himself royally in pageant and banquet. But 
his princely and gallant bearing deserted him in 
danger. Twice at least, in a critical hour, he failed 
those who trusted and followed him, and fled to 
shameful safety. The lack of personal courage was 
fatal. He had matched himself against a crowned 
adventurer whose early career had been as difficult 
and almost as romantic as his own, whose calculating 
brain and iron nerve were never more at his service 
than when rebellion and invasion threatened the 
crown he had won on the battlefield. 

On the following Thursday (28th November), ^ be- 
tween two and three o'clock in the afternoon, War- 
wick was executed on Tower Hill. The king paid 
the expenses of the funeral, and the earl's body was 
taken by water to Bisham Abbey in Berkshire, and 
buried there with his ancestors. ^ Thus did the 
" winding ivy of a false Plantagenet kill the true 
tree itself." 

An attempt has been made to defend Warwick's 
execution on the score of policy. It is alleged that 

1 The City Chron., p. 228, gives the date incorrectly as 29th 
November. 

^ Of the eight other conspirators indicted, four were condemned 
to death, but only two were executed. For the plot see City Chron., 
pp. 226-8 ; HaU, 491 ; Pol. Verg., 609 ; Baga de Seoretis, Thirty- 
seventh Report of Deputy Keeper, 216-8 ; Plumpton Corresp., 141-2 ; 
Berg., Spanish Cal., p. 213 ; Excerpta Hiatorica, p. 123 ; Busch, 
op. cit., 349-50. 



216 HENRY VII [1499 

Henry was induced to get rid of Warwick by the 
urgent representations of the Spanish ambassador, who 
dwelt on his master's reluctance to allow his daughter 
to marry the heir to a throne constantly threatened by 
the survival of a prince of another royal house. ^ 
According to this view Warwick was sacrificed by 
Henry as the price of the Spanish marriage. 

But what is the evidence for this view ? There is 
not a shred. There is no trace of or allusion to a 
communication of the kind. The whole story seems 
to have been evolved from the exulting words of de 
Puebla " that not a doubtful drop of royal blood 
remained in England," from Katherine's lamentation 
many years later over the marriage that had begun 
in blood, and from the coincidence in point of time 
between the execution and the marriage. But these 
are slender foundations on which to build a theory 
inherently improbable. It does not even square with 
the general view that Henry was an unscrupulous 
politician who would commit any crime for gain, a 
view that calls for proof that the marriage depended 
in some way upon Warwick's removal. Of such a 
connection there is no trace. The marriage had long 
been decided upon by the Spanish court, the delay 
came from Henry's side, and there is no evidence of 
any pressure being put upon him. If policy dictated 
the crime at all, a more plausible explanation would 
be that Henry felt that his throne was insecure as 
long as Warwick lived. He had tried generosity to 
his captive foes and found it a failure. Extraordinary 

» HaU, p. 491 ; Gairdner, Henry VII., p. 174 ; L. and P. Hen. VII., 
i. 113. See Busch criticising this theory, p. 354. Bacon's hint 
(p. 179), that Henry found in the alleged Spanish representations a 
pretext for, rather than a motive of, the execution, is another 
variation. 



1500] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 217 

patience, considering the traditions of threatened 
dynasties, marked Henry's treatment of conspiracy. 
But even this is an insufficient explanation of the 
sudden cruelty that claimed a hfe spared in much 
more dangerous crises. The execution of Warwick 
was not an exhibition of inhuman calculation but 
of human weakness. Henry's temper was altering. 
" Age was fatal to the Tudor despots " ; his naturally 
calm and judicial spirit was being warped by con- 
stant threats, and by the suspicions of premature old 
age. It was no monster chuckling over the profit 
of premeditated murder, but a terror-stricken man 
driven to a sudden act of cruelty by anxiety and over- 
strain, who signed the warrant for Warwick's execu- 
tion. Panic, not policy, drove the king on to crime. 
The Anglo-Spanish negotiations of the year 1500 
are more than usually wearisome. The arrival of 
Princess Katherine in England was expected. Prince 
Arthur had written in October 1499 expressing his 
anxiety to see his bride, and the king was spending 
enormous sums in preparing for her reception. But 
several things delayed her departure. Ferdinand 
made the sudden discovery, on comparing the earlier 
with the later marriage treaty, that the latter was 
less favourable to Spain instead of much more 
favourable, as de Puebla had often assured him it 
was. He declared that many of the conditions had 
been altered to suit Henry's views, and hoped that 
they might still be modified in spite of the number of 
times the treaty had been ratified on both sides.'^ 

^ The fact that the careful Ferdinand never made the discovery 
before seems almost incredible, but it rests on good authority. It 
may have been a manoeuvre to keep de Puebla properly submissive 
by putting him in the wrong. Berg., Spanish Cal,, Nos. 236-7, 248, 
250-2, 254, 266. 



218 HENRY VII [1500 

De Puebla, too, sent reports that made Ferdinand un- 
easy. Perhaps with a view of emphasising his heroic 
achievements he reported that the feehng in England 
was hostile to the Spanish match, and that he and 
the Bishop of London had had infinite difficulty in 
getting the council to agree to the treaty of alliance. 
Members of the council objected to the omission of 
the words " King of France " from the king's style 
in letters from Ferdinand and Isabella, and vied 
with one another in pointing out difficulties in the 
treaty until Henry called them to order and told 
them to stop disputing about words. The suspicious 
Ferdinand took alarm, and his fears were increased 
by the rumour that Henry was seriously considering 
a match between the Prince of Wales and a French 
princess. On Friday, 8th May, Henry and the queen 
left England suddenly for Calais. No one knew of 
their intention until a day or two before they started, 
and there was much speculation in diplomatic circles 
as to the motive of the visit. A French ambassador 
came to Calais to pay his respects to the king and 
bring an instalment of the tribute, and on Friday in 
Whit week Henry had an interview with the Arch- 
duke Philip at a church in the fields. " The interview, 
which was splendid and solemn, was very cordial. . . . 
The archduke said that he loved Henry and regarded 
him as his protector." ^ Henry, much flattered, made 
a suitable reply. The king stayed a month in Calais 
before returning. The meeting with the archduke 
made Ferdinand suspect some manoeuvre of Maxi- 
milian's with a view of substituting the Princess 
Margaret of Austria for the Princess Katherine as a 
bride for the Prince of Wales. Therefore, while he 

1 Berg., Spanish Cal., No. 268. 



1500] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 219 

concealed his suspicions in letters to de Puebla, 
Fuensalida was despatched on a special mission to 
England to see whether there was any truth in the 
rumour of another marriage, and instructed to keep 
a close watch on de Puebla, who was said to be 
entirely under Henry's influence. De Puebla was 
brimming over with self-satisfaction at achieving " a 
masterpiece of diplomacy," when making the final 
arrangements for the marriage, and gave a variety 
of reasons for his delay — " the absence of the 
Prince of Wales, the Great Seal being kept at 
Westminster, the absence of the king and queen 
in Calais, the fact that the Latin secretary was 
suffering from ague, that the third son of the king 
had died, and that he himself was suffering great 
pain." 1 Fuensalida's report was not reassuring. 
He certainly thought the match was in some danger, 
and repeated de Puebla's remark that, " judging by 
the national character, it was quite likely that the 
English had changed their minds." ^ 

All this seems to have been a cobweb spun from 
the suspicious brains of the Spaniards. Preparations 
for the marriage, then expected in August, were 
going on all over England, and Henry was spending 
large sums on jewels and so forth. But Ferdinand 
could not get rid of his suspicions. Various excuses 
were made to delay Katherine's departure, and 
Ferdinand announced that he wished the marriage 
ceremony, already twice performed, to be repeated 
as soon as the prince had completed his fourteenth 
year.* Henry thought the third repetition of the 

^ Berg., Spamieh Cal., No. 268. The alliision is to the death of 
Prince Edmund in the summer. ^ Ibid., pp. 235-8. 

' Arthur's birthday was 22nd September, so this stipulation 
meant a delay until the following spring. 



220 HENRY VII [1500 

ceremony unnecessary, but gave way to de Puebla's 
representations, and the marriage took place at 
Ludlow Castle, the Prince of Wales's seat, on 
22nd November, the Bishop of Worcester officiating. 
De Puebla, as proxy of the princess, was placed at 
table above the Prince of Wales on his right hand. 
More respect was paid to him than he had ever before 
received in his life — ^he told his master. Disputes 
about the size of Katherine's Spanish household fol- 
lowed. The list had been drawn up on a generous 
scale, as it was anticipated that Henry would pay 
the salaries,^ but the council were violently opposed 
to her bringing so many Spanish gentlemen and men- 
servants with her, and specially " abhorred " the 
idea of the Majordomo or Lord Steward. Henry 
declared that the number was unnecessarily large. 
" The princess," he wrote, " will be better and more 
respectfully attended by English ladies and gentle- 
men than ever princess has been served before." De 
Puebla reported that the king and queen wished very 
much that the ladies who were to accompany the 
Princess of Wales should be "of gentle birth and 
beautiful, or at least that none of them should be 
ugly." The Spanish ambassador was still oppressed 
by the "nightmare" of trying to induce Henry to 
accept 35,000 crowns worth of the plate and jewels 
the princess was bringing with her as the first instal- 

1 The household was to include four ladies-in-waiting and their 
servants, six maids of honour, and two slaves to attend them, a 
majordomo, » master of the ceremonies, a cupbearer, m, " master 
of the haU," a secretary, a confessor, an almoner, two chaplains, six 
pages, a chief butler, marshal, and warden of the chapel, three 
gentlemen-in-waiting, four equerries, two squires, a laundress, 
housenaaids and fourteen other servants. Dona Elvira Manuel 
(who later played an important part in Katherine's story) was at 
the head of the household. Berg., Spa/niah Gal., No. 288. 



1501] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 221 

ment of the marriage portion, an interpretation of 
the treaty which Henry was not disposed to accept. 
There is a very interesting letter from Isabella to 
Henry, written on 23rd March 1500-1, expressing her 
gratification at hearing of the splendid preparations 
that were being made for her daughter's reception. 
Though she delighted in them as signs of the magnifi- 
cent grandeur of her brother Henry, ^ she ardently 
implored him that her daughter should not be the 
cause of expense but of happiness to England, and 
that the substantial part of the festival should be 
Henry's love for his true daughter.^ 

Henry's suggestion that the princess should land 
at Gravesend was not favoured by Isabella, who pre- 
ferred Southampton or Bristol, as safer harbours. 
In spite of the 100,000 nobles spent in vain prepara- 
tions the year before, still greater efforts were being 
made. Tournaments and meetings of the Knights 
of the Round Table were arranged, and distinguished 
foreigners were invited over to witness the celebra- 
tions.' The young Duke of York went to Southamp- 
ton to superintend preparations for her reception. 
At last, on 21st May, after further delay caused by 
another rising of the Moors and a low fever from 
which she was only just recovering, Katherine left 
Granada. Owing to the heat, she travelled by 
very slow stages, and did not reach Corunna until 
the middle of July. On August 25 she embarked, 
but was driven back by storms and hurricanes. She 
disembarked at Laredo, waiting for more favourable 

' Henry had been pressing for the use of this style. 
2 Berg., Spanish Cal., i. No. 293. 

a L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 404^-17, ii. 103-5 ; HmdmcJce Papers, 
i. 1-20. 



222 HENRY VII [1601 

weather. On Monday, 27th September, the fleet 
again sailed. Henry, hearing of her unfortunate ex- 
perience, had sent one of his ablest captains to look 
out for the princess and convoy her to England. 
The princess, however, was still pursued by ill-luck, 
and on the voyage met with furious winds and 
thunderstorms. On Saturday, 2nd October, at three 
o'clock in the afternoon, she reached Plymouth har- 
bour. The nobility and gentry of the neighbourhood 
had flocked into the town. One of her attendants 
wrote to Isabella that " She could not have been 
received with greater rejoicings if she had been the 
Saviour of the world." ^ 

A month went by before Henry set out to meet 
her, though he wrote her a letter of welcome,^ and 
sent a number of English ladies, headed by the 
Duchess of Norfolk, to form her suite. He met 
Katherine at Dogmersfield on 6th November, and 
there they were joined by the Prince of Wales. 
Ferdinand's instructions that the princess was not to 
meet her husband or father-in-law before the wedding 
day had been overruled by Henry, who announced 
that he became Katherine's guardian as soon as she 
set foot on English soil. There was music by Kathe- 
rine's minstrels, and the prince and princess danced 
together. Henry wrote to Ferdinand later telling 
him how much he admired Katherine's beauty as 
well as her agreeable and dignified manners. 

It had been arranged that Katherine should make 
her pubhc entry into London alone, the king and 
royal family viewing the procession from a platform 
in Cheapside, and on November 12th, at about two 

1 Berg., Spanish Cal., i., No. 305. 
" L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 126-8. 



1501] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 223 

o'clock in the afternoon, Katherine rode from 
Lambeth over London Bridge into the city, followed 
by a great train of nobles and gentlemen. It was a 
scene of extraordinary gaiety and splendour. The 
procession passed through crowds of rejoicing citizens. 
The streets were lavishly decorated ; pageant followed 
pageant at different points of the city. At London 
Bridge she was met by a pageant which included St. 
Katherine and St. Ursula, both of whom recited very 
long poems, which, however, were a mere prelude to 
the eloquence which " Polycy," " Noblesse," " Vertue," 
" the Archangel Raphael," and others lavished on her 
at later stages of the route. The final pageant re- 
presented the heavens with seven golden candlesticks, 
and " a man goodliche apparailed representyng the 
ffader of heven." " Goodly ballades, swete armony, 
musicall instrumentes sounded with heavenly noyes 
on euery side of the strete." Katherine was lodged 
in the bishop's palace near St. Paul's, where she was 
visited by the king and queen and the Countess of 
Richnaond soon after her arrival. On the following 
Sunday (14th November), Arthur and Katherine were 
married in St. Paul's Cathedral by the Archbishop 
of Canterbury and fifteen other prelates. The stately 
ceremony took place on a raised platform, the bride 
and bridegroom being dressed in white satin. Stand- 
ing before the high altar, the Prince of Wales endowed 
his bride with one-third of the revenues of Wales, 
Cornwall, and Chester. The banquet that followed 
was a scene of great splendour, and an opportunity 
for the display of the king's magnificent plate. ^ 

^ For Katherine's reception and marriage, see City Chron., pp. 
234^50; Leland, Collectanea, v. 352-73; Hall, 493-4. Hall gives 
certain details as to the wedding night, which are not apparently 



224 HENRY VII [1501 

The ten days that followed were given up to re- 
joicings — pageants, banqueting, and " disguisings," 
jousting in the open space in front of Westminster 
Hall, and dancing within the Hall. Katherine danced 
in Spanish dress, and the young Prince Henry, we 
are told, " perceiving himself to be accombred with 
his Clothes, sodainly cast off his Goune and daunced 
in his Jackett," greatly to the delight of the king 
and queen. The nobles vied with one another in 
" pleasant devices " to vary the monotony of the 
disguisings, and a " Lanthorne " in which there were 
more than a hundred great lights and twelve goodly 
ladies, roused the Herald to even more than his 
usual enthusiasm.^ The chef-d'oeuvre apparently was 
the device of two mountains, " subtelly convayed and 
drawne upon Wheeles," linked by a golden chain, 
which represented England and Spain, one green and 
planted full of trees, and realistically complete with 
"rocks, marveylous Beastes and a goodly young 
Ladye in her Haire pleasantly besene," the other like 
a rock scorched and burnt with the sun, out of whose 
sides " grewe and eboyled " various metals and 
precious stones. The knights and ladies who in- 
habited the mountains made music so sweetly that 
the Herald is moved to remark that in his mind " it 
was the first such pleasant Myrth and Property that 
ever was heard in England of long season." Sunday 
afternoon was spent in the gardens at Richmond 
playing chess, dice, cards, and bowls, shooting at 

derived from contemporary soiirces, but seemed to have been 
inserted later when Henry's attempt to obtain a divorce made 
the question of the consummation of Katherine's marriage with 
Arthur of great importance. 

^ Leland, Collectanea, v., loc. cit. 



1601] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 225 

the butts, and watching a Spanish juggler do many 
" wondrous and dehcious Points of Tumbling, 
Dauncing, and other Sleights." 

Henry wrote a verysympathetic letter to Katherine's 
father and mother. He begged them to dismiss sad- 
ness from their minds. Though they could not now 
see the gentle face of their beloved daughter, they 
might be sure that she had found a second father, 
who would ever watch over her happiness, and never 
permit her to want anything that he could procure 
for her. Arthur himself wrote that he had never 
felt so much joy in his life as when he beheld the 
sweet face of his bride. He and Katherine retired 
to Ludlow Castle soon after the wedding. 

These rejoicings symbolised the triumph of one 
of Henry's dearest ambitions. The new Tudor 
dynasty was now united in marriage with one of the 
proudest royal houses in Europe. At the same 
moment he was arranging an alliance which was to 
prove far more important in the future. An embassy 
from Scotland arrived in London on 20th November 
with powers to settle the terms of the long proposed 
Scotch marriage. Since the treaty of December 
1497, negotiations for the marriage had been dragging 
on, their uneventful course being occasionally broken 
by unpleasant incidents on the Border. Henry's 
strong desire for peace is visible all through. 

Margaret, the bride-elect, was a delicate, back- 
ward child about eleven years old ; the proposed 
bridegroom was a man of twenty-eight, notorious 
for his adventures with women, who at the time 
of the negotiations had a liaison with the beautiful 
Lady Margaret Drummond.^ But scruples as to 

i^See Berg., Spanish Cal, pp. 169, 170, 176. 

P 



226 HENRY VII [1501 

suitability were unfashionable, and the mysterious 
death of Lady Margaret removed one awkward 
difficulty. 1 The negotiations ended in a treaty drawn 
up on 24th January 1501-2. It was agreed that a 
proxy marriage should take place at once, and that 
the young bride should be handed over to her husband 
not later than September 1, 1503. Important clauses 
arranged for free commercial intercourse and for the 
peace and security of the Border. Thus a close 
offensive and defensive alliance was inaugurated. 
The suggestion of some doubter that the alliance 
might lead to the subjection of England was met by 
Henry's confident answer that " the greater would 
draw the less." ^ 

As usual, Henry's hour of success was embittered 
by a secret source of anxiety. The Earl of Suffolk 
had lent himself to another desperate plot, and had 
fled from England for the second time in July or 
August 1501. After negotiations conducted through 
Sir Robert Curzon, formerly governor of Hammes,^ he 
put himself and his claims under the protection of 
the King of the Romans. About the time when 

1 Henry had spoken of the objections felt by him and the queen 
on account of their daughter's youth, but probably only with the 
view of making the Scotch keener on the match. Henry also 
hinted at a possible marriage between Margaret and the heir to the 
throne of Denmark, again with the same object in view. 

=> Rymer, xii. 787-803 ; GUy Ghron., pp. 253-5 ; Hall, 494 ; Pol. 
Verg., 610 ; Busch, p. 356, criticising Gairdner, Henry VII., p. 187. 
The proxy marriage took place at Richmond on the day after the 
signing of the treaty, the Earl of Bothwell, lately Henry's jackal, 
acting as proxy for James IV. Leland, Collect., iv. 258-64 ; Excerpta 
Historica, 127. 

' Curzon's attitude has been much debated, but the view that he 
was all the time acting, in Henry's interests, as a spy upon Suffolk 
seems the most probable. For a full discussion of the point by Dr. 
Gairdner and Dr. Busch, see Busch, op., cit. pp. 364-5, 441-5. 



1601] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 227 

Katherine landed in England there was a meeting 
at Imst in the Tyrol between Maximilian and the 
English refugees. Maximilian hailed this new oppor- 
tunity of getting hold of another of Henry's rebels, 
but as usual he was lavish of nothing except pro- 
mises. He welcomed Suffolk as his " very dear and 
well-beloved cousin," and suggested that he should 
take up his abode at Aix-la-Chapelle, where he re- 
mained for years waiting upon fortune. Policy as 
well as poverty bridled Maximilian's hostility, and 
the treaty of May 1499 was very valuable to Henry 
at this crisis. A suggestion that the King of England 
might advance 15,000 crowns to Maximilian for his 
Turkish war was dangled as a tempting bait before 
his eyes, and Philip was using all his influence to im- 
prove the relations between the two princes. It was a 
struggle of policy against the antagonism of mutually 
repellent personalities, and in the end Maximilian put 
oft Suffolk with promises and began to consider the 
terms of the treaty offered by Henry. 

Somerset and Warham were despatched as the 
English plenipotentiaries, with instructions, dated 28th 
September 1501, to demand the immediate surrender 
of Suffolk and the other rebels, and, if this were 
agreed upon, to offer 50,000 crowns as a present, not 
a loan. The instructions are an illustration of Henry's 
diplomatic skill, and of his care for the honour of 
England. The money was not to be given on any 
terms which could suggest that he offered it as the 
price of peace, which he and his progenitors. Kings of 
England, had never done, " for it coude not so stand 
with their honour." Over these terms the English 
and Burgundian envoys haggled for months at 
Antwerp. Maximilian tried hard to get " oon of the 



228 HENRY VII [1501 

myghtyest prynces of alle the Crystyn faithe " to 
promise a larger sum; he suggested a marriage be- 
tween Prince Henry and his granddaughter Eleanor, 
but was either too chivalrous, or too deeply com- 
mitted to Suffolk, to surrender him. 

Meanwhile in England Henry had taken prompt 
measures. On November 7th, Suffolk was proclaimed 
a traitor at St. Paul's. His property was confiscated, 
and his relatives and adherents were arrested. His 
brother, Lord William de la Pole, and his cousin, Lord 
William Courtenay, were imprisoned in the Tower, and 
later sent across to Calais, where they remained till 
the end of the reign. One brother. Sir Richard de 
la Pole, however, " so craftely conveyed and so 
wisely ordered hym selfe in this stormy tempest that 
he was not attrapped eyther with net or snare." 
Other conspirators, however, were less fortunate.^ 
Sir John Wyndham, and Sir James Tjrrell — the 
murderer of the Yorkist princes — and many others 
were arrested and executed in the following May. 

The subsidy Maximilian angled for was to be used 
against the Turks, whose rapid advance westwards 
was a very real danger. By 1500 they had overrun 
Greece, and their fleets scoured the Mediterranean. 
If the Christian faith was not to lose more ground 
their advance must be checked. The cry of " the 
Cross against the Crescent " should have roused the 
sympathies of Europe. But neither the pressing 
danger, nor the glamour of a new Crusade, availed 
to unite the princes of Europe. It was a materialistic 

^ Bacon's story that Henry obtained the surrender of Guisnes 
Castle, of which TyreU was in command, by an act of the blackest 
treachery, rests only on the authority of a letter written by Sufiolk, 
who natiirally took the most unfavourable view of Henry's actions. 
See L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 181. 



1601] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 229 

age, uninfluenced by great ideals. The theory of the 
unity of Christendom had given way to the stern 
fact of bitter rivalry between the princes. The Pope 
and Emperor remained as symbols of the vanished 
unity, but the then holders of both offices were not 
the men to arouse the loyalty or obtain the sub- 
mission of Europe. Maximilian's authority was 
set at nought by even the princes of the Empire, 
Alexander VI. was a corrupt sybarite to whose cove- 
tous fingers the gold of Christendom would have clung. 
Alexander, however, as the obvious champion of 
Christendom, issued his appeal to the princes of Europe. 

It met with little response. Louis of France was 
absorbed in ambitious schemes. He had met with some 
success in Italy, and by the end of 1499 was master of 
Milan and Naples. A friendly understanding as to the 
partition of the latter duchy united him and Ferdi- 
nand for the moment, and made them deaf to the 
Pope's appeal. Henry's attitude is interesting, and 
more sympathetic than might have been expected. 
The Venetian envoy reported his " excellent disposi- 
tion towards the Christian expedition," and he was 
urged to attack the " rabid and potent enemy of 
Christendom " in the following spring. He answered 
the Pope's appeal in a masterly letter. The terms of 
politeness reveal, as they were meant to do, Henry's 
real distrust. He expressed his admiration for the 
Pope's published intention of leading the war against 
the infidel in person, and regretted that the distance 
of England from the scene of combat — a seven months' 
journey from Venice — prevented him from giving any 
help.i 

But this evasive answer did not mean that Henry 
was indifferent to the peril of Europe. On the con- 

1 Ellis, Letters, I. (1), 50-59. 



230 HENRY VII [1502 

trary, it appears that he was one of the few princes of 
Europe who had any serious intentions with regard 
to the Crusade. Though he had persuaded Alexander 
that the tax of one-tenth imposed by him upon the 
clergy was " contrary to the liberties of the king- 
dom " and therefore could not be collected, he himself 
obtained the grant of a similar sum from Convocation, 
£4000 of which he presented to the Pope.^ None of 
the other princes of Europe did as much as this, 
though some of them collected Crusade taxes, which 
they converted to their own uses. Henry's action 
is the usual blend of generosity and carefulness. 
Though unwilling to place his English gold in 
corrupt hands, he was quite prepared to give hand- 
some subsidies to more dependable champions of 
Christendom. Contemporaries quite appreciated the 
sincerity of his attitude. Cardinal Hadrian records 
that Henry not only promised pecuniary support, 
but also that he would himself go in person to the 
war against the Turks in defence of the Christian 
faith. Empty boasting was alien to Henry's char- 
acter. We are bound to believe, as contemporaries 
did, that the offer was genuine, as well as the offer 
made some years later when Julius II. sat in Alex- 
ander's place. ^ 

In the spring of 1502 there happened " a lamentable 
chaunce to the kynge, queene and all the people." 
On the 2nd of April the Prince of Wales died at 
Ludlow Castle. A life full of promise ended pre- 
maturely, to the deep grief of the king and queen. 
After lying in state at Ludlow the prince's body was 

' Memorials, p. 413; Wilkins, Concilia, iii. 646. The Pope sup- 
plemented Henry's gift by issuing bulls for the sale of indulgences 
in England in 1501. L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 93-100. 

2 See below, pp. 361-2. 



1502] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 231 

taken in a mournful and stately procession, illumined 
by the glare of torches, to Worcester. There in the 
cathedral the prince was buried with great pomp. 
The bier was draped with a " rich Cloth of Majestic," 
and surrounded by tapers and by banners bearing the 
arms of England, of Spain, Wales, Cornwall, Chester, 
Normandy and Guienne, and Poitou, and the arms of 
Cadwallader, the British ancestor of his house. " Then 
the Corpe with Weeping and sore Lamentation was 
laid in the Grave. . . . He had a hard heart that 
wept not," wrote the chronicler. ..." Then God 
have Mercye on good Prince Arthur's Soule." ^ 

The death of the Prince of Wales was a public 
calamity as well as a private grief. One boy's life 
alone stood between the nation and a renewal of civU 
strife, and all the hopes of the Tudor dynasty centred 
in him. Suffolk's exulting letters bring out the danger 
of the position. King Henry, he wrote, could not live 
much longer, and if Prince Henry died he would at once 
succeed. Prince Henry, however, was a gallant, high- 
spirited boy, whose brilliant health seemed to mock 
at Suffolk's hopes.^ Round him the king, with his 
tireless patience, began to re-weave the subtle web of 
his diplomacy. The Spanish alliance, the fruit of 
tedious years, had lost its chief security by Arthur's 
death, but Ferdinand was even more anxious than 
Henry for the alliance to be maintained. In the 
earlier negotiations, Ferdinand had appeared to yield 
reluctantly to Henry's importunity ; he was now pre- 
pared to make overtures for the marriage. On the 
10th of May 1502, as soon as he heard the news of 

1 Leland, Oolleckmea, v. 373-81 ; Pol. Verg., 612 ; Hall, 497 ; 
City Ghron., p. 255. 

" A month after Prince Arthur's death he was created Prince of 
Wales. HaU, 497. 



232 HENRY VII L1502 

Arthur's death, he despatched the Duke of Estrada 
with powers to conclude a marriage between Kathe- 
rine and Prince Henry. He was ordered to keep 
these powers secret until he had asked that the 
princess should be sent back to Spain with her dowry 
as soon as possible, taking great pains to impress 
Henry with the sincerity of their anxiety for their 
daughter's return. 

With the beginning of these negotiations we are 
plunged anew into the familiar atmosphere of suspicion 
and chicanery. Ferdinand soon began to suspect that 
Henry might try to avoid the responsibility of provid- 
ing for Katherine. A letter of 29th May breathes alarm, 
in spite of his attempts to reassure himself and his envoy 
by declaring that "it was impossible to suppose that 
such a prince as the King of England could break his 
word at any time." His suspicions gathered strength 
as time went on, and in addition he had heard rumours 
that a marriage between Prince Henry and a French 
princess was contemplated. In July he wrote very 
urgently to Estrada, ordering him to have a marriage 
contract drawn up with all possible speed, but " not 
to show so much eagerness that it may cause the 
English to cool." Even the old idea of an English 
war for the recovery of Guienne and Normandy was 
dragged out again, and Spanish help was to be offered 
to Henry for this preposterous adventure. Many 
very anxious letters written by Isabella to Estrada 
in July and August remain. He was to disguise his 
sovereign's eagerness for the match by pressing for 
Katherine's instant return. " They could not endure 
that their beloved daughter should be so far from 
them when she was in affliction." A rumour had 
already reached Isabella that Henry contemplated 
retaining the marriage portion, and she wrote at once 



1502] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 233 

to express her disbelief in the report. She could not 
believe that Henry, " being as he is so virtuous a 
Prince, so truthful, and such a friend to justice and 
to reason, and of so honourable a character," would 
break his promises. This testimonial seems, from 
the context, not to be a mere flattering remark 
destined for transmission, through Estrada, to Henry, 
but an expression of Isabella's genuine opinion. Sub- 
sequent negotiations undeceived her as to Henry's 
purpose. Perhaps she was trying to reassure herself 
by repeated expressions of her belief in Henry's 
integrity, for she certainly felt very anxious on the 
question of the marriage portion. 

To these advances Henry made little response. He 
held the key of the position. Katherine was in 
England and dependent on him, and 100,000 crowns 
of her marriage portion had already been paid to 
him. His position in Europe was so much stronger 
that the Spanish alliance became a less glittering lure. 
On 19th June 1502 the prolonged negotiations with 
Maximilian ended in a commercial treaty at Antwerp, 
and on the following day another treaty was drawn 
up. By this Maximilian undertook not to give help 
or protection to English rebels and to dismiss them 
from his territory. In return Henry promised to 
give Maximilian £10,000, to be used in the war against 
the Tiu-ks. The money was paid over on 1st October, 
and the treaty was proclaimed in London three weeks 
later. ^ Henry's willingness to pay £10,000 in an 
attempt to bind the faithless Maximilian to with- 
draw his support of Suffolk, proves how much he 

1 L. and P. Hen. VII., 152-111 ; Excerpta Hietorica, 129; Rymer, 
xiii. 3—10, 12-27. Suffolk and his confederates were again pro- 
claimed as traitors from St. Paul's Cross, and the terrors of a Papal 
bull anathematising rebels was added. 



234 HENRY VII [1502 

feared the refugee's plans. He paid a high price for 
his fears. The treaty, unsatisfactory in its terms, 
was interpreted by Maximihan in a spirit which made 
it almost useless to Henry. He allowed Suffolk to 
remain at Aix, on the plea that it was a free town of 
the empire, and that he had no authority to turn 
him out. The only change was that he no longer 
supplied the refugee with funds. He remained at 
Aix, running deeper into debt, surrounded by Henry's 
spies, and rendered desperate by the confiscation of 
his estates and the execution of his friends. It 
appears from a hint contained in a letter of Isabella's 
that she and Ferdinand, though ostensibly trying to 
use their influence with Maximilian in Henry's inte- 
rests, were working for his surrender to Spain, not 
to Henry. The refugee wrote a series of letters to 
Maximilian imploring him for help, and announcing 
that he and King Henry could never be together in 
England without one of them perishing. 

The end of the year (1502) found Henry still 
postponing a definite agreement with Spain about 
the marriage, and negotiating with Louis of France, 
to whom he declared that he would be willing to pay 
ten or twelve thousand crowns for Suffolk's sur- 
render. In December he despatched Sir Thomas 
Brandon and Nicholas West to take the Order of the 
Garter to Maximilian and obtain his oath to the 
treaty. After a month's delay at Cologne they met 
Maximilian at Antwerp, and succeeded in getting 
him to bind himself in a very solemn way. He took 
the oath in the church of St. Michael, kneeling before 
the altar with the English envoys, and, with his hand 
on the Gospels, uttered the word " Juramus " at the 
moment of the elevation of the Host. As far as 
forms went the elusive prince was firmly bound. It 



1503] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 235 

was not the fault of the envoys that he took his 
obligations so lightly. The accounts the ambassadors 
furnished to Henry are rather amusing.' While the 
town was blazing with bonfires, and the windows 
displaying " brennyng cressentes," Maximilian began 
to show his usual dexterity in evasion, giving various 
specious reasons for refusing to be invested with the 
Garter, and for delaying the proclamation of Suffolk 
and his adherents through the towns of the empire. 
The remonstrances of Henry's envoys were treated 
lightly. Maximilian and his council consulted with 
" grete laughter." The envoys resented their treat- 
ment, but were too stupid and too honest to be a 
match for Maximilian, who obtained a further delay 
by despatching an embassy to Henry to settle the 
disputed points. The embassy arrived in England at 
the end of March 1503. Then followed a repetition 
of the proceedings in Antwerp. Henry solemnly 
swore to the treaty in St. Paul's Cathedral, the city 
rejoiced with bonfires, and Maximilian's proxy was 
received into the Order of the Garter at Windsor. 
But the question of Suffolk was not yet settled.^ 

The year 1503 saw two events of the first import- 
ance in the English royal family, the death of the 
queen and the marriage of the Princess Margaret. 
On 11th February, her thirty-seventh birthday, Queen 
Elizabeth died in the Tower, ten days after giving 
birth to a princess. It is strange that the queen's 
last confinement should have taken place in the 
Tower, a place with such dark memories for the 
people of her house. ^ There is a touching account of 

1 L. and P. Hen., VII., ii. pp. 189-220. 

* See below, p. 326. 

' According to the City Chronicle (p. 258) it was a premature 
confinement — the queen " entended to have been delyvered at 
Richemount." 



236 HENRY VII [1503 

the king's grief, and the dead queen was sincerely 
mourned by the whole nation. Her body lay in 
state in the Tower chapel, near the then unknown 
grave of her murdered brothers, and was afterwards 
taken in procession through the streets to West- 
minster, an effigy of the queen in crown and robes of 
state being placed above the coffin. The pall bore 
the queen's arms and her appropriate motto, " Humble 
and reverent." The burial took place in the Abbey. 
There, in the centre of the gorgeous chapel of 
Henry VII., beneath Torregiano's beautiful monu- 
ment, rests Elizabeth, the daughter, sister, wife, and 
mother of kings. 

Margaret's marriage to James IV. took place on 
August 8th. The summer had been spent in prepara- 
tions, and the king seems to have made up his mind 
that the first bride of the Tudor house should have 
a suitably magnificent outfit. Many embroiderers 
were hard at work for the Queen of Scots, perhaps 
adorning her garments with the red roses of Lancaster, 
which appeared in every possible place, from cushions 
to the trappings of palfreys. In June the king was 
buying jewels and plate to the value of £16,000 for 
the bride. On June 27 Margaret left Richmond on 
her way to Scotland. Henry went with her as far as 
CoUyweston in Northampton — one of his mother's 
residences — and from there she went on alone attended 
by a gorgeous retinue of nobles. The Herald gives 
a detailed account of the whole journey, which in- 
cludes vivid descriptions of Margaret's meeting with 
James, of his graceful manners and accomplishments, 
of the wedding in St. Giles' Cathedral, and of the 
rejoicings that followed. It appears, however, from 
Margaret's later letters, that she was far from 
happy in Scotland. She pined for England and 




Emery Walker, Photo 
ELIZABETH OF YORK 
From the full-length effigy on her tomb in Westminster Abbey 



1503] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 237 

the English court, and the family from which she 
was exiled. Her pathetic letters to Henry show 
her as one of the many royal victims of politic 
marriages. 1 

Death had been busy in the king's household as 
well as in his family, and the figures conspicuous in 
the early years are henceforth absent. The death of 
Morton in 1500 had removed one of Henry's wisest 
ministers. He had spent his youth in the dangerous 
atmosphere of the civil wars, and learnt pliability 
and dexterity therein. When exiled to Flanders he 
became the brains of Richmond's enterprise, and 
Henry never forgot the debt. Morton became in 1485 a 
member of the Council, in 1486 Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, in 1487 Lord Chancellor, and in 1493 a Cardinal. 
He opened Parliament with his elaborate Latin ora- 
tions, delivered answers to ambassadors, and so on. 
Bacon's account of Morton as a man "in his nature 
harsh and haughty, much accepted by the king but 
envied by the nobility and hated of the people," is prob- 
ably less reliable than that of Sir Thomas More, who 
sjient his youth in Morton's household and knew him 
intimately. " In his face did shine such an amiable 
reverence as was pleasant to behold, gentle in com- 
munication, yet earnest and sage. He had great de- 
light many times with rough speech to his suitors to 
prove, but without harm, what prompt wit and what 
bold spirit were in every man. In his speech he was 
fine, eloquent, and pithy. . . In the law he had 
profound knowledge, in wit he was incomparable, and 
in memory wonderful excellent." ^ He was a states- 
man of a good type, who played his conspicuous part 

^ See, for instance, Ellis, Letters, I. (1) 41-3. 
' More, Utopia (ed. Lumby), p. 27. 



238 HENRY VII [1503 

with ability and dignity.' Tradition makes him the 
inventor of " Morton's Fork," but though he became 
unpopular as the supposed author of Henry's ex- 
tortions,^ what evidence there is goes to prove that he 
tried to restrain the king. Certainly things became 
much worse after his death. 

Sir Reginald Bray, who died in 1503, had also spent 
his life in Henry's service, and enjoyed an unusual 
measure of his confidence. Bacon states that Bray 
was " noted to have had with the king the greatest 
freedom of any counsellor," though he suggests that 
he used this freedom to flatter the king, but Hall 
writes — " he was so bold that if any thinge had bene 
done against good law or equitie, he would, after an 
humble fassion, plainly reprehende the king. . . . He 
was a very father of his country, a sage and a grave 
person, and a fervent lover of justice." * Like 
Morton he incurred considerable unpopularity in con- 
nection with the heavy taxation. 

The extent of the influence of men like Morton 
and Bray over Henry must remain a secret, but the 
scanty evidence that remains affords no proof that 
they pursued any original policy, except Morton 
perhaps with regard to ecclesiastical affairs,* but the 
loss of men who had shared his exile and won his 
hardly given confidence must have added to the lone- 

1 He had a magnificent taste in building, and relies of his work 
may be seen at Wisbech and in St. Mary's Church at Oxford. 
When Bishop of Ely he drained the fens round Peterborough, and 
" Morton's Dyke " still runs seaward through the marshes. 

2 See City Ghron., p. 232. 

^ Hall, OAron., 497. Like Mortonhe was a lover of splendid buildings. 
The design for the rebuilding of St. George's Chapel, Windsor, and 
that of the chape of Henry VII. at Westminster, are supposed to 
have been his, and he laid the first stone of the latter on 24th 
January 1502—3. 

' See below, p. 309. 



1503] FOREIGN AFFAIRS: 1497-1503 239 

liness of a king surrounded by men whom he could 
command but could not trust. A fine influence was 
removed from the king's court, and men of a baser 
stamp, who had proved themselves willing and un- 
scrupulous, became Henry's servants if not his ad- 
visers. To ascribe to the death of Bray and Morton, 
however, the deterioration in the character of Henry's 
policy in his later years that has often been noticed, 
is to allow too much weight to their influence. No 
adviser ever had power to mould Henry's policy, and 
the change in its nature was due to the inevitable 
hardening of an ungentle character with advancing 
years. Carefulness degenerated into avarice, paternal 
despotism into tyranny, caution into cunning. 

But already by 1503 Henry had completed most 
of his enduring work, the alliance with Spain and 
Scotland, the re-establishment of England among the 
powers of Europe, and — by far the most important — 
the establishment of the Tudor despotism in England. 
On the financial and legislative work which gave 
Henry the right to be considered the founder of that 
despotism, little has yet been said. 



CHAPTER VII 

LEGISLATION AND FINANCE: THE FOUNDATION 
OF THE TUDOR DESPOTISM 

In contrast with his diplomatic activity, painfully 
intricate and only partially successful, Henry's work 
in England has the attraction that comes from bold- 
ness and success. He found in England a sphere in 
which all his first-rate abilities were exercised, in 
which all the strength of his strong, unlovely per- 
sonality was exerted. His struggle Avith the forces 
of disorder and reaction, his unvindictive triumph, 
the patient accumulation of power and wealth that 
raised the Crown far above all forces in the State, 
and made it the mainspring of history in the following 
century, can claim the interest that comes from an 
achievement of first-rate importance. The dynasty 
he founded bore the stamp of his personality. He 
settled its character, chose its armour and weapons, 
and his spirit animated it to the end. He can claim 
to have introduced a new idea into English politics 
— that apparent contradictien in terms, a popular 
despotism. 

Where did Henry go for his political ideal ? Con- 
siderable stress has been laid by at least one modern 
writer on the supposedly foreign origin of Henry's 
constitutional policy, ^ but beyond Ayala's words, 

^ "It must have been in France that Henry formed those 
theories of personal government that he tried to introduce into the 
English constitution." Busch, op. cit., p. 294. 

240 



1485-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 241 

" He would like to govern England in the French 
fashion but he cannot do it," there is no evidence to 
support this. In some comparatively unimportant 
details, French and foreign influences appeared. His 
exile abroad had certainly familiarised him with the 
continental theories of kingship, but his own native 
talent taught him what pitfalls to avoid. The idea 
which gives the Tudor despotism its peculiar char- 
acter and secured its permanence, that of despotic 
power based on popular approval and maintained by 
an alliance of the Crown and the middle classes 
against the nobles, was certainly alien to the spirit 
of French despotism. It was Henry's own contribu- 
tion to political theory ; it was evolved from a study 
of contemporary conditions and strengthened by the 
Tudor instinct for popularity. The path of popular 
despotism upon which Henry and his successors trod 
had a different direction to that which led from the 
Louvre through Versailles to the Bastille. 

The rule of Edward IV. furnished Henry with a 
recent example of English despotism, but surface 
similarities do not conceal the fundamental contrast 
between his work and that of his predecessors. A 
new spirit transformed the old methods. Henry's 
power was based on an alliance with the people, 
Edward's led to a reign of terror, when even the first 
excuse of absolutism, strong government, failed. He 
even failed to secure his own dynasty, and with the 
disappearance of Edward V. and his brother the era 
of violence and hopeless anarchy seemed to have 
returned. Things were different from the beginning 
with Henry VII., and he won his way to the only 
possible solution for the difficulties of the time, 
when with care and patience he set up a popular 
despotism. 



242 HENRY Vll [1485-1609 

The disorderly weakness of England at his accession 
cried out for strong rule. Parliamentary government 
had been a lamentable failure, and the people, who 
had proved themselves unripe for power, were ready 
to sacrifice the theory of freedom for the fact of 
peace. The failure of this premature attempt had 
been followed by a riot of aristocratic faction. The 
memory of Lancastrian anarchy fought for the 
Tudors ; occasional arbitrary conduct seemed a smaller 
evil than lack of governance. Tyranny was as dis- 
credited as Parliamentary government. The ex- 
hausted country had submitted to the rule of 
Edward IV. and Richard III., but their bloodstained 
sceptres failed to maintain order, and a reaction had 
brought about the triumph of Henry VII. He it 
was who succeeded in finding a new basis for des- 
potism, and built up a new type of monarchy which 
suited both the genius of his people and the temper 
of his house. 

In the Tudor despot the demagogue was but thinly 
veiled. The vast power the king wielded was drawn 
from the people's will, and with a flash of insight 
Henry VII. realised the promise of this new alliance. 
" It was the definite aim of the Tudors to pose as 
social reformers," we haA^e been told,i and though the 
first Tudor is not haloed with the modern aureole of 
social service, he was none the less the saviour of 
society in England. 

Even from the beginning the drift towards des- 
potism is visible. Long before he had made his 
throne secure, long before popular sentiment had 
gathered round the new monarchy, we find him 
taking the first steps in this direction. Before 

1 Social England (ed. Traill), ii. p. 626 ; Pollard, Factors in Modem 
History, p. 71. 



1485-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 243 

Parliament met or his title was confirmed he was 
exercising all the rights of an absolute king. The 
first and obvious duty of restoring order was taken 
in hand at once, with a judicious mixture of firmness 
and lenience. No wholesale convictions of defeated 
foes revolted popular sentiment. Violence and 
robbery were put down with a strong hand. Confi- 
dence in the stability of the government and in its 
power to protect the individual revived, and popular 
opinion — ^that great security for peace — ^began to 
range itself on the side of a dynasty that had a 
hereditary title as well as the force of arms behind it. 
As the knowledge that the king was about to marry 
Elizabeth of York spread through England, men 
began to hope for a peaceful compromise of a question 
that had devastated England for two generations. 
The Yorkist disturbances of the early years of the 
reign hide from view the extent of popular acquies- 
cence, and before the princes of Europe realised that 
the Tudor dynasty was fu-mly established, some sen- 
timent of loyalty was already attached to it in 
England. 

Henry attached to his sceptre national feeling 
as well as national interests. It has often been 
pointed out that the growth of international rivalry 
in Europe is a feature of the age in which Henry VII. 
lived. In England, owing to its island position and 
the long wars with France, a feeling of national unity 
had appeared early. The peculiar character of 
English feudalism and of English municipalities made 
decentralising forces less strong than abroad, and it 
was easier for national to replace local ambition. 
These facts gain a new significance in connection 
with the foundation of the Tudor despotism, and 
were responsible for much of its success. National 



244 HENRY VII [1485-1609 

self -consciousness was growing restive. "An appeal 
to Magna Carta would have left a Tudor audience 
untouched," but it could be roused to enthusiasm 
by a hint of national pride or an allusion to the 
splendid heritage which Englishmen were beginning 
to realise. It was this growing pride in nationality 
that the Tudor sovereigns fostered, represented, 
and profited by. Like the rest of his dynasty, 
Henry was perfectly in touch with contemporary 
feeling. The floating atoms of thought and opinion 
held in suspense among the mass of the people were 
crystallised in the action of its sovereign. In the 
king the aims of the people found expression, in his 
policy they took effect, and this intimacy with 
national sentiment became the mark of the dynasty 
he founded. 

It is characteristic of the practical turn of Henry's 
genius that he was able to translate this harmony of 
feeling between the king and the nation into a regular 
alliance between the Crown and the middle classes, 
acting through their representatives in the House of 
Commons. He drew his strength from the loyalty of 
the dwellers in field and city, not from the towers 
and walls of medieval castles or the leadership of 
feudal hosts. The influence of capital was fast 
changing the basis of society. Personal relations be- 
tween lord and man were being superseded by the 
complex, impersonal relationships of commerce and 
industry,, of employer and employed. From the 
decay of a feudally organised society the middle class 
emerged. Rich citizens began to compete with feudal 
lords, and became richer with the revival of trade. 
The class which had thus obtained wealth found the 
path to political power opening before them, and, 
owing to certain peculiar features of English society 



1485-1609] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 245 

— the absence of rigid social castes and the union of 
the knights of the shires with the burgesses in the 
House of Commons — their representatives in the House 
of Commons had the strength that came from the 
union of the landed gentry with the wealthy towns- 
men. In an era of transition, therefore, Henry VII. 
enlisted the support of the class which was rising 
while he levelled the last outstanding feudal figures 
to whom the past belonged. The forces that com- 
bined in his support represented all the progressive 
and hopeful elements of society. As one conspiracy 
after another was formed and failed, the hopelessness 
of their aims, the threat involved in their success, 
was stamped upon the popular mind. They were 
empty of any promise except the return of anarchy, 
they represented the party of faction and reaction 
that had everything to gain and nothing to lose by 
disorder. The days of civil war were still near 
enough to throw their dark shadow, and the trading 
classes, feverishly absorbed in money-making, realised 
that everything depended on the king's protection. 
A successful conspiracy would have engulfed their 
newly earned wealth in the returning waves of 
anarchy, hence their steady loyalty to Henry VII. 
The king's occasionally heavy taxation and his un- 
constitutional borrowings they seem to have regarded 
in the light of an insurance against the risks of 
renewed civil war, and isolated acts of tyranny were 
obscured by the general justice of the king's rule 
under which the poor and weak found protection and 
the prosperous citizen found peace. 

Over the nobles, discredited by their proved in- 
capacity for rule, weakened and impoverished by the 
Wars of the Roses, Henry won his first trimnph. 
They had no leader ; the men with personality or 



246 HENRY VII [1483-1609 

ambition had fallen on the field of battle or by the 
axe, and they were divided by memories of civil 
strife. Against them was a resolute man, bent on 
reducing them to obedience, who struck one hammer 
stroke after another at the overgrown power which 
was the root of disorder. There is little wonder 
that he prevailed. 

In his first Parliament they had to take an 
unpalatable oath against maintenance and livery.^ 
This first blow attacked the root of their political 
power and the outward signs of their aristocratic 
dignity. The armed bands who, swaggering under 
feudal badges, had overawed the countryside, 
intimidated sheriffs, and bullied juries, felt that their 
days were numbered. Private war, once a necessity, 
became a prohibited and almost unattainable luxury. 
But the effect of this first step must not be exagge- 
rated. The practice of keeping bands of armed re- 
tainers was too much part of the life of an English 
nobleman to be abandoned at once. The tigers 
needed careful watching even after their teeth were 
drawn. One statute after another repeated the tenor 
of the oath, adding penalties. The " feedmen " of 
the Duke of Northumberland, the " great Host " 
of the Lord Strange, the retainers of the Duke of 
Buckingham, of the Nevilles, and other nobles ^ — 
though not as familiar as the retinue of the Earl of 
Oxford, that has won an anecdotic immortality — 
existed late in Henry's reign to show how much 
stronger custom still was than law. The unsuccessful 
rebellions, the sharp justice of the Star Chamber, the 
obscuring of the spirit of faction by years of peace, 

1 This was drawn up on the lines of an oath taken in 1433, when 
the lords had sworn not to maintain felons. Rot. Pari., vi. 344o. 
^ Leland, Oollectanea, iv. 213. 



1485-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 247 

completed the work that legislation had begun. By the 
end of the reign the typical English nobleman had 
found other occupations than the medieval ones of 
riot and civil war.'^ He was a much more peaceful 
character, who was beginning to appreciate the refine- 
ments of Renaissance culture and a gentler civilisation. 
Henry was too politic to take their traditional 
occupation from his nobles without giving them some 
new interest to take its place. His attitude to the 
old nobility is an interesting example of his skill. 
By his unrevengeful policy he conciliated all except 
the irreconcilables, and the great names of the feudal 
aristocracy became conspicuous among the men who 
adorned his court. The Duke of Buckingham and 
his brother nobles were splendid figures at jousts, 
revels, and " disguisings," and remained at court 
under the king's eye planning further displays of 
glittering magnificence instead of in the distant pro- 
vinces keeping up almost royal state and meditating 
treason. Though none of the older nobility, except 
the king's immediate relatives and the Earls of 
Oxford and Surrey, obtained important employment 
in the State, the king's tact kept them satisfied with 
their ornamental r61e. Though they were occasion- 
ally employed as dignified ambassadors on diplomatic 
missions which called for no special ability, their 
real mission in life was to shine in the brilliant con- 
stellation revolving round the throne. It was a 
definite part of the king's policy to keep them about 
the court, and it appears that their absence attracted 
his notice and made him suspicious. ^ Henry's 

^ The Italian Relation (p. 39) is very clear on this point. " In 
former times . . . the nobles kept retainers. . Of these there 
are few left, and those diminish daily." 

2 Andre, Armalee, p. 125. 



248 HENRY VII [1485-160 

example was followed by his successors, who in 
herited from him an ineradicable and perhap 
excusable jealousy of the great aristocrats. At m 
period of English history were the nobles more con 
spicuous at court, yet at no period had they les 
real power in the State. 

This ornamental nobility was balanced by a ncT 
official class. Merchant blood ran in the veins of th 
Tudors themselves, and gave them sympathy witl 
men of non-noble birth. The important offices o 
State were given to men of comparatively obscuri 
birth, who owed everything to the king and had n( 
traditions of aristocratic independence behind them 
Men like Morton, Fox, and Warham obtained th 
dignity necessary for their exalted office by holdini 
high ecclesiastical rank, and their success encourage( 
talented men of humble birth to hope for simila 
careers. Bray, Empson, Dudley, and Wolsey wen 
all men of the non-noble class who found their wai 
to office under Henry VII. His choice of middle 
class ministers was imitated by his successors, an( 
though he personally created few new peerages, i 
patent of nobility was often the reward of service t( 
the State in the later Tudor period. The new nobility 
as it has been called, owes its origin to the policy o 
Henry VII. ^ 

As Henry amassed wealth and set on foot splendi( 
traditions, the gulf between royalty and the aris 
tocracy widened. This process of exalting the roya 
dignity continued. His children did not marr; 
among the English nobles, as had been the unfoi 
tunate tradition, but among the other royal house 

^ See list of Henry's creations. Forty-seventh Report of Deput 
Keeper, App. 79-83. 




Emery Walker, Photo 

RICHARD FOX, BISHOP OF WINCHESTER 

1448—1528 

From the National Portrait Gallery copy of the picture by Joannes Corvus at 

Corpus Christ! College, Oxford 



1486-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 249 

of Europe. After Warwick had been executed, little 
of the blood royal flowed in the veins of subjects. 
The Crown withdrew to a position of splendid isola- 
tion, and its strength was unchallengeable by any,' 
noble or group of nobles. 

Even the Church, with all its great traditions 
behind it, became a support of despotism, not a bul- 
wark of freedom. Though the hierarchy was as 
strong as ever in wealth and estates, the Church was 
rapidly losing its power with the people. The advent 
of the critical spirit of the Renaissance, the revival 
of insular hostility to a body under the control of 
Rome, the secularisation of the Church, the decline 
of the monastic ideal, and the scandals of sanctuary 
and benefit of the clergy, deprived the Church of 
influence and involved her in unpopularity. By the 
humiliation of the baronage and the weakness of the 
Papacy the Church had lost its former allies, its natural 
leaders had become the king's servants, and it sank 
into dependence on the Crown, bringing to it all the 
dead weight of its vast possessions. 

The position of the Crown gained strength from 
the intellectual revival. The Renaissance brought 
with it the revived study of the Roman civil law with 
its imperial language and absolutist sentiment. 
" What is pleasing to the prince has the force of 
law," ^ became a familiar maxim, and a growing band 
of scholars looked to the king for patronage and 
reward. The ideas of Macchiavelli's // Principe and the 
rule of the Italian despots had familiarised Europe 
with the sight of the autocrat whose sceptre was 
adorned with the graces of art and literature. 

The power of a monarchy that thus represented 

1 Ulpian. 



250 HENRY VII [U85-150S 

the popular will early gathered round it nationa] 
sentiment. " No one but a Tudor poet," it has been 
said,i " would have thought of the ' Divinity that doth 
hedge a king ' or have written : 

" Not all the water in the rough rude sea 
Can wash the balm &om an anointed king. 
The breath of worldly men cannot depose 
The deputy elected by the Lord." 

Under the dynasty founded by Henry the people 
had the opportunity of looking at the best and 
strongest side of the theory of kingship, and it is not 
by accident that Shakespeare and the rest of the 
Elizabethan dramatists are silent about the elected 
representatives of the people while they idealise and 
dignify the monarch. It is curious to notice how the 
reverence for and awe of the Crown deepened as the 
reign went on. Henry deliberately fostered this by 
his personal dignity and aloofness from the common 
people, and by the growth of splendour and cere- 
monial at his court. It is not for nothing that the 
word " Majesty " appears first in this reign. The king 
deliberately set himself to hedge his throne by all 
outward forms and observances. " He had nothing 
in him of vainglory," wrote Bacon, " but yet kept 
state and majesty to the height, being sensible that 
majesty maketh the people bow." 

Henry's relations with Parliament introduce the 
most characteristic feature of the despotism he 
founded. A series of pliant Parliaments gave a legal 
colo\ir to the methods of Tudor government, and 
enforced the royal will through their legislation. 
Though in Henry's time the system of legalising 
absolutism did not reach its climax, it was he who 

1 Pollard, Factors in Modem History, p. 75. 



1486-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 251 

established the tradition. The king succeeded in 
making Parliament subservient without resorting to 
clumsy methods of corruption. His dealings with the 
legislature were not according to any of the former 
models. His Lancastrian descent and immediate 
summons of Parliament may have, raised hopes that 
the king was going to tread in the way of his Lan- 
castrian ancestors, and that the age of Parliamentary 
government had returned. But the king's scheme 
was very different. He chose a middle way between 
the too great dependence on a popular assembly 
associated with the weak rule of Henry VI. and 
the hatred or contempt for Parliament shown by 
Edward IV. and Richard III. He originated a method 
which, while it preserved the time-honoured forms 
of Parliamentary liberty, secured the practical pre- 
dominance of the royal will. 

It is Henry's success in using the power he had 
acquired over Parliament to secure a legal basis for 
his despotism and arm it with still further powers 
that is the most novel feature of his rule. Men were 
familiar with tyranny, and familiar with Parlia- 
mentary government, but the blend of the forms of 
liberty and the fact of absolutism was new. At the 
beginning, at all events, everything was done under 
legal forms. It was not until the king had furnished 
himself with new weapons forged for him by Parlia- 
ment, and had hedged round his dynasty with every 
legislative sanction his ingenuity could devise, that 
he abandoned his Parliamentary ally, and resorted 
to the more obvious and usual methods of absolutism. 

How was this subservience of Parliament obtained ? 
Not in the main by any underhand juggling with the 
electorate, or any political wire-pulling, but by that 
practical coincidence between the will of the king and 



252 HENRY VII [1486-1509 

the wishes of the people's representatives to which 
allusion has before been made. Satisfied of their 
unity of aim, Henry's complaisant Parliaments put 
into his hands powerful weapons against their common 
foes, and thdr trust in him made them sanction 
some of his most arbitrary actions. On most points 
the identity of interests was obvious, and with con- 
summate tact the king avoided collision on the points 
where harmony between Crown and people was not 
complete.^ Finance was almost the only question 
upon which difficulty arose, and it was the king's 
reluctance to arouse the opposition of Parliament and 
the people by asking for large supplies that drove him 
to the questionable financial expedients of the later 
part of the reign. 

The king, it may be noticed, was not without many 
sources of influence which he could have used to 
restore harmony, if any hint of popular opposition 
were revealed. In this connection the Lower House 
is the more important. The Upper House reflected 
in its political nullity the practical weakness of the 
nobility. Never had the House of Lords been more 
dependent on the Crown and less a feature of the 
constitution. This was not due to the exterriiination 
of the baronage, a picturesque view of the result of 
the battles of the Roses that has long been abandoned. 
Though only eighteen temporal peers sat in Henry's 
first Parliament, the number afterwards rose to the 
usual level of about forty. ^ They were, however, 

1 The theory of Hobbes that " in monarchy the private interest 
is the same with the public. The riches, power, and honour 
of a monarch arise only from the riches, strength, and reputation 
of his subjects," coincides for once exactly with the facts of the case. 
Hobbes, Leviathan, chapters xix., xx. 

" Many peers were absent owing to unreversed attainders barring 
them from sitting. One curious feature is that several of the northern 



1485-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 253 

outnumbered by the spiritual peers, who were more 
than usually dependent on the Crown, and the House 
of Lords became a negligible factor in the constitu- 
tional situation. 

Many of the sources of influence over the Commons 
discovered by Henry VII. were little used by him, 
owing to his success in avoiding causes of conflict with 
Parliament, but they are interesting as anticipations 
of later methods. The appointment of the Speaker 
was practically in Henry's hands, though theoretically 
he was elected by the Commons. The list of Speakers 
for the reign, Lovell, Mordaunt, Sir Thomas Fitz- 
William, Empson, Robert Drury, Thomas Inglefield, 
and finally Dudley, at the height of his unpopularity 
— all men who were devoted to the king's interests 
— proves how strong Henry's hold over Parliament 
was. The fact that the Speaker then managed the 
whole business of the House, very much in the way 
that the modern leader of the House does, but in 
the interests of the Crown not of a party, gave the 
king considerable influence over proceedings in the 
Commons. There is little evidence of attempts to 
control elections either directly, by the use of royal 
influence, or indirectly, through putting pressure on 
local magnates. Neither is there any evidence of the 
creation of new boroughs on royal estates, a favourite 
method with Henry's successors. The king's policy 
gave him a position independent of such devices. 
There is evidence, however, of influence in another 
direction. Nearly all the new charters granted to 
boroughs during the reign restricted the electoral 

lords, whose loyalty was not suspected, did not receive their writs 
of summoiis until late in the reign, or early in that of Henry VIII. 
This has not yet been explained. See on this point Stubbs, Seventeen 
Lectures on Med. and Mod. Hist., pp. 407-8. 



254 HENRY VII [1488-1509 

bodies in the towns. The case of Leicester, where 
the change introduced by charter was confirmed by 
Parliament, 1 is a fair example. There the elective body 
which chose the town officials and the members of 
Parliament was reduced to forty-eight, on the plea 
that " through the ' exclamacions and hedinesse of 
persons of lytel substance ' the elections had been 
scenes of riot and disorder." ^ This action, taken on 
the king's own personal responsibility, is one of the 
first cases of the tampering with borough franchises, 
which was elaborated in the later Tudor period when 
popular independence was reviving. 

Owing to the infrequent and brief sessions of 
Parliament, most members of the House of Commons 
lacked initiative, and had no familiarity with Parlia- 
mentary business. They had no leaders, no discipline 
or party organisation, no ground of comnaon action, 
no burning grievances to rouse them to resist a king 
who had a reputation for wisdom and the monopoly 
of administrative experience. As a result the House 
as a whole took little interest in politics. The question 
of peace or war might arouse some enthusiasm, as in 
the session of 1491, the demand for large supplies 
might and did arouse discussion. But with regard 
to general legislation Parliament was apathetic, and 
at the same time trusted the king completely. The 
interests of both appeared identical, and there is 
no record of opposition even to the measures which 
invested the king with almost despotic powers. 

' Rot. Pari., vi. 431-3; Campbell, Materials, ii. 456-7; Bateson, 
Borough of Leicester, pp. 308-14, 319, 324. 

2 On the visit to Exeter, when he enriched the city with the gift 
of the hat and sword (stiU preserved there), Henry modified the 
constitution of the city, making it more oUgarohic. Court of Re- 
quests (Selden Soc), p. 4. 



1485-1609] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 255 

From the first Henry found Parliament a willing tool. 
The brief Act recognising the king's title gave an idea 
of the kind of thing that was to follow. His right to 
reign was acknowledged not bestowed by Parliament. 
The voice of Parliament was Henry's voice, the peti- 
tions he graciously granted he had himself inspired. 
The lead given by this first Parliament was followed 
by its successors. The various Acts of Attainder by 
which the king made the representatives of the people 
share the responsibility for the punishment of his 
foes/ the Acts of Resumption, and the Star Chamber 
Act led up to the legislation of the Parliament of 1495 
(called by one writer " the obedient Parliament ") — 
legislation which affords very strong proof of the 
extraordinary advance in the power of the Crown 
since the beginning of the reign. The Act legalising 
benevolences placed an arbitrary exaction of the 
king's on the same footing as a tax imposed by the 
strictest constitutional forms, the Act setting up the 
informer system, which will be discussed below, gave 
the king an opportunity of making a profit out of the 
judicial administration of which he at once took full 
advantage. This Parliament, strongly monarchical 
in tendency, is the forerunner of the servile Parlia- 
ments of Henry VIII. The last Parliament of the 
reign, called after a long interval during which the 
king's despotic power had grown through years of 
non-resistance, went further still. The Act of 1504 
gave the king the power of reversing attainders 
by letters patent.^ By this extraordinary statute, 
the unopposed passing of which is a measure of 
Parliamentary confidence in, as well as obedience to, 

1 On this subject see Pollard, op. cit,, p. 86. 

2 19 Hen. VII., cap. 28 ; Rot. Pari, vi. 626 ; Stat., ii. 669. In 
1523 Henry VIII. was given the same powers for life. 



256 HENRY VII [1485-1609 

the king, Henry found himself able to perform the 
highest act of sovereignty and annul at his pleasure 
an Act of Parliament passed with all proper for- 
malities. 

All this Henry had accomplished without doing any 
injury to the forms of the constitution. His new 
plant of Parliamentary despotism had taken root. 
" He did much to maintain and countenance his 
laws," writes Bacon, " which (nevertheless) was no 
impediment to him to work his will." The writers 
who have credited him with the desire to set up in 
England a despotism of the continental type appear 
to miss the very features which made the Tudor 
monarchy a success. The bodyguard, the spy 
system, and so on were accidents rather than attri- 
butes of his despotism. 

Only the outstanding features of the legislation 
passed by Henry through his complaisant Parlia- 
ments can be dealt Avith here. Legislation aimed at 
political disturbances and social disorder takes up 
many pages of the statute-book. The oath against 
livery and maintenance, already noticed,^ was fol- 
lowed by legislation which gives a picture of serious 
disorder. The Act " against unlawful hunting in 
forests and parks " ^ refers to the facts that " Divers 
persons in grete nombre som with paynted faces som 
with Visors and otherwise disguised to thentent they 
shuld not be knowen riotously and in manner of 
Werre arraied " had hunted by night as well as by 
day in the forests and parks, especially in Kent, 
Sm-rey, and Sussex, and the result had been " re- 
belleons, insurrections, riots, robberies, murders, and 
other inconveniences." It was enacted that offenders 

1 See above, p. 49. " 1 Hen. VII., cap. 7 



U85-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 257 

should be brought before any member of the king's 
council, or any justice of the peace, night hunting 
being made a felony, i An " Acte against Murderers " ^ 
recited the neglect of the law " and how murders and 
the slaying of the king's subjects daily increase in 
the land," and enacted that murderers should be 
proceeded against at the king's suit within the year, 
and that there should no longer be the delay of a 
year and a day — the time allotted for an appeal by the 
relatives of the slain. Townships were to be amerced 
for the escape of murderers ; coroners were given a 
fee of 13s. 4d. for every inquest they held, a penalty 
of 100s. being imposed upon them for neglect to hold 
an inquest. The last provisions were directed against 
the notorious slackness of the coroners, which had 
resulted in much crime going unpunished. 

By another Act single justices of the peace were de- 
prived of the power of allowing bail to prisoners, which 
had been much abused in favour of powerful offenders, 
" wherby many murdrers and felons eschaped to 
the greate displeasure of the king." Two justices 
had to agree to allow bail, and the fact had to be 
certified at the next sessions or gaol delivery. This 
Act and others like it amount practically to a restate- 
ment of the ordinary duties of local officials, but the 
heavy fines which punished culpable neglect of duty 
were novelties. The disturbed state of society is 
further illustrated by the necessity for an Act of 
Parliament which made the violent abduction and 
marriage of women of property a felony.* 

The abuses of benefit of clergy and of sanctuary — 

^ This was an anticipation of Star Chamber methods. 

2 3 Hen. VII., cap. 2 ; Stat. ii. 510. 

3 See also Star Chamber Oases (Selden Soo.). Act against Thomas 
Keneston, 3 Hen. VII., cap. 32. 

B 



258 HENRY VII [1485-1609 

another grave danger — ^were limited. Benefit of 
clergy then extended to all who could read, and thus 
exempted a horde of criminals from the sterner 
justice of the secular courts. An Act of 1490 only 
allowed benefit of clergy once to any offender who 
was not actually in orders, and provided that if his 
offence were murder or felony he was to be branded 
on his left thumb with the letters M or T. If subse- 
quently indicted he was to lose his benefit of clergy. 
By later statutes soldiers who deserted from the 
army, or servants who killed their masters, were 
entirely deprived of benefit of clergy. Contempo- 
rary opinion declared that the king had been led to 
pass these Acts owing to the much more satisfactory 
state of affairs in France.^ 

The right of sanctuary was a similar menace to 
good government. Any church could shelter an 
offender from his pursuers for forty days, and certain 
specially privileged places could give sanctuary for 
an unlimited period. In 1487 an Act of Parliament 
was passed to prevent the privilege of sanctuary 
being abused by debtors in order to defraud their 
creditors. The opinion of the judicial bench, as 
well as popular feeling, was hostile to these dangerous 
privileges, and in the case of Humphrey Stafford 
(1487) the judges decided that sanctuary could not 
protect an offender accused of high treason.^ This 
put a powerful weapon into the king's hands, and his 
position was strengthened by the bulls which his 
cordial relations with the Papacy enabled him to 

1 4 Hen. VII., cap. 13 ; 7 Hen. VII., cap. 1 ; 12 Hen. VII., 
cap. 7 ; Stat., ii. 538, 549, 639 ; Pol. Verg., 609 ; Ital. Rel., p. 35. 
See above, p. 26. 

« 3 Hen. VII., cap. 5 ; Stat., ii. 513 ; Year Book, 3 Hen. VII.. 
fo. 12, pt. 6 ; More, Utopia, p. 44; Reeves, ed. Finlason. 



1485-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 259 

obtain from three Popes in succession. A bull issued 
by Innocent VIII., and confirmed by Alexander VI. 
in 1493, deprived a robber or murderer who left 
sanctuary and committed a second offence of its 
benefits, and authorised the king's officers to take 
him out of sanctuary. At the same time the bull 
contained a provision, very important from Henry's 
point of view, that in the case of a fugitive sus- 
pected of high treason taking sanctuary, his place of 
refuge might be surrounded by guards to prevent his 
escape. In 1504 another bull forbade the reception 
of criminals who had left sanctuary into any other 
refuge, and provided that all criminals might be 
watched by royal guards when in sanctuary. 

The bitter fruit of years of tumult and disorder 
could not be destroyed at once by Act of Parliament. 
Henry's task of restoring order seemed an endless 
one. Quite late in the reign native as well as foreign 
observers were commenting on the prevalence of 
crime and violence. Though the sight of twenty 
thieves hanging on one gallows was not unique, theft 
was " ryffe and rancke " everyTvhere. 

The streets of London were thronged with beggars 
and with idle gentlemen who, said More, " carrye 
about with them at their tails a great flock or train 
of idle and loytering serving men . . . who jette 
through the street with a bragging look and think 
themselves too good to be any man's mate." Such 
men when they lost their masters had no trade but 
theft.i 

Much of the disorder was caused by the lack of 
employment due to the increase of sheep-farming, 

1 More's Utopia gives a vivid picture of England about the time 
of the Cornish rebellion. 



260 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

the disbanding of the hveried retainers, and by the 
spread of luxury and ostentation, " the strange and 
proude newefanglenes in apparel, prodigall riot and 
sumptuous fare . . . the many noughtie, lewde, and 
unlawfuU games that send the haunters of them 
streyghte a stealynge when theyr money is gone." ^ 

Further, a host of vexatious law-suits, the legacy of 
civil war, had cropped up to harass the landlord. No 
one felt his title secure, but much was done to restore 
a feeling of confidence by the Statute of Fines.^ The 
fine, which under the original Act of Edward I. had 
been an unchallengeable way of conveying land,^ 
had by a later statute {noun chaque) lost this ter- 
minative effect. The former efficacy of the fine was 
restored by Henry's statute, with increased pre- 
cautions against fraud. The theory that this statute 
was an instance of Henry's craft and foresight, that 
it beguiled the nobility into impoverishing themselves 
by making alienations easy, was the product of 
Bacon's fancy, and though often repeated is now 
abandoned. As a matter of fact the Act is only a 
re-enactment of an earlier Act of Richard III., and 
its ostensible purpose of providing a method of 
securing a doubtful title to land was its real one. 
Its later use by lawyers as a convenient method of 
alienating entailed land could hardly have been fore- 
seen by Henry, and was of little importance until 
considerably later.* 

Of all the statutes which aimed at restoring order 
to the distracted country, the famous Star Chamber 

' More, Utopia (ed. Lumby), p. 35. " 4 Hen. VII., cap. 24. 

' 27 Edw. I., s. 1, cap. 1. 

* The fine had to be proclaimed in Court four times in each of the 
three terms foUowing the conveyance, and at the end of the year, 
being unchallenged at twelve separate publications, became absolute 
and a bar to all further suits. 



1485-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 261 

Act of 1487 is the most important.^ The preamble 
gives a vivid picture of the evils the statute proposed 
to remedy. " The Kyng oure sovereygn Lord re- 
miembreth howe by onlawfuU mayntenance gevyng 
of lyveres signes and tokyns and reteyndres by 
endentur promyses othes writyng or otherwise, em- 
bracieries of his subgettes ontrue demeanynges of 
Shrevys in makyng of panelles and other ontrewe 
retournes by takyng of money by jurryes by greate 
riotts and unlawfuU assemblez the polacye and good 
rule of this realme is almost subdued . . . wherby 
the lawes of the lond in execution may take litell 
effecte, to the encres of murdres, robberies, perjuries 
and unsuerties of all men lyvyng and losses of their 
londes and goodes." 

By this Act the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Treasurer, 
and the Lord Privy Seal, or any two of them, were 
empowered to summon a bishop and a temporal lord 
of the king's council with the chief justices of the 
king's bench and of the common pleas, or in their 
absence two other judges, and form a court to con- 
sider any bill or information laid against any one for 
misbehaviour of the kind stated in the preamble. 
They were given authority to summon the offenders 
to appear before them by writ or privy seal, to 
examine and punish them as if they had been con- 
victed by one of the ordinary courts of law. At the 
same time the justices of the peace were to order in- 
quiries to be made by special jiu'ies with a 40s. qualifica- 
tion as to the concealment of offences by other inquests. 

By later Acts, as will be seen below, the sphere of 

this court (which, though not designated by the name 

of the Star Chamber in the Act of 1487, may, for the 

sake of convenience, be called by that name) was 

1 3 Hen. VH., oap. 1. 



262 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

considerably enlarged. Acts of 1495 provided that 
" heinous riots " were to be reported to the Star 
Chamber by justices of the peace, that cases of perjury 
were to come before it, and that appeals could be 
brought to it in criminal cases. In 1504 a new Act 
against retainers mentioned the Star Chamber. It 
gradually attracted business of a very varied char- 
acter. Quarrels between the Merchant Adventurers 
and the Staplers, gild disputes, cases of usury and 
forgery, and disputes over enclosures were brought 
before it, and thus a court of the king's servants had 
in its hands the commercial and industrial interests 
of the people.^ The vast increase in the power of the 
king, who by a court set up outside the ordinary 
jurisdiction could thus control the daily lives of his 
subjects, can hardly be exaggerated. 

This Act is another of the cases in which originality 
of device cannot be claimed. It has been pointed 
out that it derived its " statutory pedigree " from an 
Act of 1453, which empowered the Chancellor to sum- 
mon rioters before the Council, ^ and further the Act of 
1487 only adapted for particular cases powers derived 
from a much older source, the authority exercised 
by the king's Council in its judicial capacity. But 
though it did not set up the " Star Chamber," nor 
introduce any startling novelty in administrative 
machinery, the Act was of first-rate importance for 
practical purposes. It converted a temporary and 
abandoned experiment into part of the permanent 
machinery of government. The process sketched out 
in the reign of Henry VI. was hardened and defined. 
The Act increased the number of offences with which 

^ Leadam, Star CTvumhar Cases (Selden Soc); Somerset Star 
Chamber Cases (Somerset Reo. Soc). See also Appendix III., 
p. 423, below. ^ Leadam, op. cit., Intro., bciv, seq. 



U85-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 263 

the Council had the clear authority of Parliament to 
deal, legalised the issue of writs of privy seal, long 
a subject of contention between king and Parliament, 
and extended to a number of specified ofiences the 
partly abandoned power of the Council to examine 
defendants on oath. Like other engines of Tudor 
absolutism, the court of Star Chamber was a despotic 
excrescence growing out of constitutional usage, and 
sacrificing the forms of justice in particular cases to 
the good of the State. There is little doubt that its 
action in the early days of the Tudors was almost 
uniformly beneficent. It touched a class of offenders 
against whom the ordinary courts were powerless, res- 
cued weak suitors from the tyranny of juries bribed or 
coerced by the local magnates, and substituted for the 
decision of a venal ofiicial, or the verdict of a corrupt 
or coerced jury, the judgment of uninterested and 
highly-placed statesmen. Rapid and effective action 
took the place of the delays by which legal process had 
often been made a denial of justice. The simplicity 
of its procedure swept away technicalities, anomalies, 
and injustice. " It was a law unto itself, with hands 
free to invent new remedies for every new disease 
of the body politic." ^ The enthusiasm of Lambarde, 
who wrote of the Star Chamber as " this most noble 
and praiseworthy court, the beams of whose bright 
justice do blaze and spread themselves as far as the 
realme is wide," is a sufficient contrast to the whole- 
sale denunciations of it current in the seventeenth 
century. But the points that made for its usefulness 
in the reign of Henry VII., led to the defects that 
produced its condemnation later. The temporary 
supersession of the jury system, the condemnation of 

' Maitland, Eng. Law, 1307-1600 {Social Eng. (ed. Traill), 
ii. 657). 



264 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

the accused on written evidence, without the oppor- 
tunity of being confronted with witnesses, its rapid 
methods, the growing practice of examining the de- 
fendant in secret and subjecting him to torture under 
a hcence obtained from the Privy Council, all these 
things were liable to become weapons of arbitrary 
tyranny. Its very freedom from formalism and re- 
luctance to consider itself bound by its own pre- 
cedents, the elasticity that had made the court 
valuable in the early period, were twisted into 
arbitrariness and illegality. The court that had been 
the safeguard of the weak and a security for order in 
unquiet times, degenerated in less able hands and 
more peaceful times into the weapon of weak cruelty, 
and it finally perished in well-earned ignominy. 

The legislation of the Parliament summoned in the 
autumn of 1495, after Warbeck's raid on the shores 
of Kent, reflects the critical character of the situa- 
tion. The Act which promised security to those 
who supported the king de facto is important as 
a measure of the king's uneasiness, rather than for 
its effect in reassuring his subjects.^ Other Acts 
were more important. There was a great dread of 
violence, of some upheaval within the kingdom that 
would drive the king from his throne. ^ During the 
late disorders local officials had proved themselves 
incapable. The jury system was under a cloud; 
sheriffs and justices of the peace were corrupt and 
careless. If the king's throne was to survive exter- 
nal dangers, the internal administration must be 

' 11 Hen. VII., cap. 1 ; Stat., ii. 568. Dr. Buscb sees in it, 
however, one of Henry's " most important and fair measures to 
remove the evil of insecurity in matters of law." Busoh, op. cit., 
p. 271. The Act was of some importance in the constitutional 
disputes of the seventeenth century. 

^ Paaton Letters, iv. 894. 



1485-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 265 

reformed. Very important legislation was passed 
through Parliament which still further increased the 
control of the Crown over local institutions. The 
Star Chamber Act had already provided for the trial 
of sheriffs who had neglected their duty, but this 
Parliament went further, and a new statute imposed 
heavy fines on such offenders. The Act also pro- 
vided a check upon the justices of the peace, by 
ordering that complaints against them were to be 
taken to the justices on assize or to the king and 
chancellor — that is, to the Star Chamber. The 
preamble of the Act stated the king's wish " that 
his subjects should live at peace under his laws and 
increase in riches and well-being," but the Act was 
not repealed when the danger was over.^ 

Other statutes, as we have seen, extended the 
jurisdiction of the Star Chamber to perjury, in cases 
touching the king,^ and re-affirmed its powers in con- 
nection with "heinous riots." ^ Another Act, evidently 
passed with a view of diminishing the number of 
vagrants, who became a grave political danger in this 
year of crisis, provided that all beggars incapable of 
work should be returned to their own hundreds. The 
severe penalties imposed by an Act of Richard III. 
were abrogated, and the vagrant was to be set in the 
stocks for three days on the first offence and for six 
days on the second offence. Scholars, soldiers, and 
sailors who begged were required to show a licence 
from the governing body of their university or 
from their commanding officers.* This statute, which 
seems to anticipate the later distinctions between 
able and impotent beggars, was evidently successful. 

1 llHen. VXL.oap. 15,cap. 24§ 6,oap. 25§2;Sto«., ii. 579, 389,590. 

2 11 Hen. VII., cap. 25; Stat., ii. 589-90. 

3 11 Hen. VII., cap. 7 ; Stat., u. 573. 
» 11 Hen. VII., cap. 2; Stat., ii. 569. 



266 HENRY VII [1486-1509 

Perkin Warbeck found no crew of vagabonds and 
out-of-works to support him, and in 1504 it was found 
possible to reduce the penalties upon vagrancy to a 
day and a night in the stocks.^ 

The Star Chamber statute had not completed the 
reform of the jury system, and still more drastic 
treatment was required. An Act of 1495 set up 
machinery by which appeal might be made from the 
verdict of a jury. In civil cases the appeal lay to a 
special jury of twenty-four summoned to hear the 
appeal, and if the verdict of the original jury was 
reversed each member of it was fined £20. In 
criminal cases appeal lay to the Star Chamber, which 
thus obtained control of the whole criminal adminis- 
tration of the country.^ In 1504 this legislation, 
which had been passed for a term of years only, was 
renewed as to civil appeals but not as to criminal 
appeals.^ It has been suggested that Henry had the 
settled purpose of destroying the jury system — that 
typically English institution that was so much mis- 
understood by contemporary foreign observers * — but 
as usual the evidence of sinister design is absent. In 
civil cases he arranged for appeal from one jury to 
another, and the legislation as to criminal appeals 
was not renewed during the reign. As a matter of 

1 19 Hen. VII., cap. 12 ; Stat., ii. 656. 

^ 11 Hen. VII., cap. 24 ; 11 Hen. VII., cap. 25; Stat., ii. 588-90. 
There had been a difficulty in obtaining » sufficient panel, met by 
reducing the qualification of jurors. Later in the reign the quali- 
fication was doubled, which suggests a marked improvement in 
social conditions. 19 Hen, VII., cap. 13; Stat., ii. 657-8. 

3 19 Hen. VII., cap. 3; Stat., u. 649. 

* The Italian observer wrote of the jury system in the reign of 
Henry VII. as a bad custom, and declared that those who could 
not bear the discomfort of being shut up " without food, fire, or 
means of sitting down " had to agree to the verdict of their more 
Spartan comrades. Ital. Bel., p. 33. 



1485-1609] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 267 

fact, however, it appears that criminal appeals were 
still occasionally taken to the Star Chamber in spite 
of the lapse of the legal authorisation. In 1504 the 
laws against livery and maintenance were strengthened 
by a statute which imposed fines for breaches of the 
earlier Act, and gave a certain inquisitorial power to 
justices of the peace, who were ordered to summon 
before them any they should " thynke to be suspect 
of any reteynour." 

The effect of these centralising statutes can hardly 
be exaggerated. They introduced the efficient local 
administration which became one of the features of, 
Tudor rule. The king enlisted in his service all the 
political capacity he could find, placing much reliance 
on the minor country gentry who became the props 
of the Tudor throne, and, though his government 
was high-handed, it was strong and dependable. The 
excesses of the local tyrants, the cranaping fetters of 
the exclusive corporations, gave way before the power 
of the king. Many despots had given place to one — 
a despot enlightened by practice in ruling, and 
broadened by considering the nation as a whole. 

Side by side with the Star Chamber, Henry set up, 
or rather established on a permanent footing, a court 
which is less well known. The Court of Requests, 
the " poor man's court of equity," aimed at providing 
a summary tribunal for the adjustment of civil cases 
under the rules of equity. Like the Star Chamber, it 
is an offshoot of the Council, but it bears clear marks 
of the theory that made the king the fountain of 
justice, in the fact that for a long time it followed the 
king on his progresses through the kingdom. This 
practice was gradually given up, though an isolated 
instance has been found as late as 1544, and the legal 
element grew stronger as time went on. The court 



268 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

seems to have been popular as well as effective, and 
its reorganisation is a proof of the king's tenderness 
for his poorer subjects. ^ 

The volume and importance of all this legislation 
supports the familiar paradox that the Tudor des- 
potism saved the essence of Parliamentary govern- 
ment.^ Henry VII. roused Parliament from a state 
of impotence. In the reign of Edward IV. Parlia- 
ment " seemed to have nothing better to do than to 
regulate the manufacture of cloth. ... If for a 
moment it can raise its soul above defective barrels 
of fish and fraudulent gutter tiles this will be in order 
to prohibit ' cloish, kayles, half bowl ' " and other 
unlawful games.* Henry brought Parliament back 
from the contemplation of particular and local in- 
terests to the great affairs of the nation. It is true 
that Parliament only entered upon its new and im- 
portant work under the heavy hand of a master ; but 
experience in dealing by legislation with great 
national questions would have been cheaply pur- 
chased by the sacrifice of independent poAvers of 
regulating the " making of worsteds " or the herring 
trade. But even this sacrifice Parliament did not 
have to make. The new work of becoming the instru- 
ment of despotism thrust upon the national assembly 
by Henry VII. did not absorb all its energies. Its 
activity in the regulation of special trades continued. 
The Statute Rolls of Henry VII. make curious read- 
ing. Legislation making great constitutional changes 
comes side by side with Acts prescribing punishments 
for those who stuffed beds with " improper feathers," 

' Oaaes in Court of Requests (ed. Leadam), Selden Soc. It is 
suggested that the name of the court was taken from that of a 
French court of a similar nature. 

' Maitland, Eng. Law, 1307-1600 (Social England, ii. p. 647). 

= Ihid., p. 647. 



1485-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 269 

restraining the evil practices of itinerant pewterers, or 
ordering the repair of Bristol pavements.^ The share in 
government (or at all events in legalising the Acts of 
government) was given to Parliament by Henry VII. 
for his own personal convenience, but it brought about 
results of the highest importance. The king brought 
Parliament back to the old line of development inter- 
rupted by two generations of anarchy. He started 
it on a course which made it a natural develop- 
ment for Parliament to alter the national religion, 
become supreme in finance, and ultimately, by 
changing the succession, to obtain control of the 
executive government. The system of the first 
Tudor despot contained in it the essence of Parlia- 
mentary monarchy. 

Henry's financial policy invites both admiration 
and criticism. The latter it has obtained in abundant 
measure ; the sensational faults of the later have 
obscured the patient, meritorious work of the earlier 
years. In some respects Henry's treatment of finance 
was the most difficidt — ^though perhaps the most 
successful — of all the work he did for England. He 
found the country exhausted, the exchequer empty, 
even the crown jewels in pawn. He maintained a 
precarious throne against foreign and domestic foes, 
kept up a splendid court, and yet left a fabulous 
treasure to his son. His extraordinary success was 
not due to the accident of a general economic recovery 
in England, or to the brilliant and original devices of 
a financial genius. Neither was it the result of the 
painful accumulations of a throned miser ; ^ the king's 
personal expenditure was lavish, his court was magni- 

1 Rot. Pari., vi. 388. 

^ On this point Bacon has been bliadly followed in spite of the 
weight of contrary evidence. See Berg., Spanish Gal., p. 206; 
Brown, Yen. Cal., No. 870. 



270 HENRY VII [1486-1509 

ficent, his rewards to followers generous, his prefer- 
ence of public policy to private gain constant. He 
was a generous host and a liberal ally.^ His success 
was the result of improved management, careful 
account-keeping, constant attention to detail, and 
judicious economy. 

In his reorganisation of the ordinary sources of 
revenue, Henry showed the skill of a born financier. 
Of these sources the Crown lands were the most 
important. 

Though the vast estates of York and Lancaster 
had been added to the Crown lands, the ruinous 
wars, and the extravagance of both Lancastrian and 
Yorkist kings had led to great alienations of territory. 
Heavy mortgages encumbered many estates, and land 
and buildings were neglected and ruinous. In the 
very first month of his reign, Henry showed his char- 
acteristic grasp of the detail of finance, and before he 
met his first Parliament he had the management of 
the Crown lands at his fingers' ends. In September, 
when he had been only a week or two in his capital, 
he was arranging for the repair of royal castles in 
Chester and Flint, and appointing loyal followers 
as keepers of other strongholds. New stewards and 
bailiffs of royal manors were appointed, new parkers 
and masters of the game in the royal forests. From 
Berwick to Cornwall we find evidence of the king's 
activity.^ Revenues from Crown lands, hitherto 
paid into the Exchequer, were transferred to the 
control of special commissioners in order to avoid 
delay. The leases under which Crown lands were 

^ In 1502-3 he Bpent £90,327 from the privy piirse in entertaining 
foreign guests. Privy Purse Expenses, Excerpta Historica, pp. 126- 
131. 

" MateriaZe, passim; and Bateson, Becorda oj Leicester, pp. 308-373. 





GREAT SEAL of HENRY VII (|) 



U85-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 271 

held were reviewed, and nearly all the new leases 
provided for the payment of " improved rents " in 
addition to the former rents.^ Repairs were under- 
taken at Windsor, Westminster, and the Tower of 
London ; order was brought out of chaos, and waste 
and neglect restored. The Crown lands were con- 
stantly augmented during the reign by the forfeitures 
of traitors and rebels, though the harsh action of 
these confiscations was mitigated by limitations in 
favour of widows and heirs. ^ The first Parliament of 
the reign passed an Act of Resumption restoring to 
the Crown all lands alienated since 2nd October 1455. 
Other Acts followed later, and finally the " obedient 
Parliament " displayed its subservience by restoring 
to the Crown property alienated as far back as the 
reigns of Edward III. and Richard 11.^ 

The result was that Henry had in his hands an 
accumulation of landed property far greater in extent 
than any king before him, which, besides increasing 
his income, added to his already vast power. These 
great lands supported a small army of servants and 
officials, disciplined and devoted to the king's service, 
and provided lucrative posts with which the king 
augmented the scanty salaries of ambassadors and 
other State officials.* There are not sufficient data 
for an exact statement of the revenue received by 
Henry from the Crown lands, but the well-informed 

1 In 1495 this policy was pushed to extremes on the lands appro- 
priated to the Prince of Wales. Leases of land from which a larger 
rent could be expected were simply annulled, the land being let 
on new terms. 

2 See Bot. Pari., vi. 39&-400. 

3 This Act does not seem to have been acted upon to any great 
extent. It was a. threat rather than a reality. Rot. Pari., vi. 
336-84, 459-62, 465-9. 

* See Materials, and L. and P. Hen. VIII., vol. i., Intro. 



272 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

Italian observer was not very far out when he esti- 
mated it at 547,000 crowns (£109,000).^ 

The profitable incidents of a dying feudalism, 
wardships, marriages and reliefs, formed a considerable 
but diminishing item of the royal revenue. In addi- 
tion Henry expected freeholders owning land worth 
£40 to take up the honours and burdens of knight- 
hood, and towards the end of the reign Empson's 
notorious activity was displayed in searching out and 
fining defaulters. The later years of the reign, fertile 
in financial expedients, produced also a revival of 
the royal claim for aids on the knighting of the king's 
eldest son and the marriage of his eldest daughter. 
In 1504 Henry claimed both these aids, though Prince 
Arthur was dead and Princess Margaret had been 
married for some years. There was considerable 
opposition in Parliament, led, it is said, by Thomas 
More.^ With characteristic tact Henry disarmed 
opposition, and contented himself with a smaller 
sum than that offered by the Commons.^ 

A third source of revenue was the customs duties. 
Henry's first Parliament showed itself generous in 
this matter, and, following the precedent set in the 
reign of Richard III., granted tonnage and poundage 
to the king for life.* The king's far-sighted and 
disinterested commercial policy was rewarded by a 
steady increase in the customs duties, which by the 
end of the reign had reached a total of over £40,000, 
a rise of twenty -eight per cent.* 

1 im. Bel., pp. 47-9. 

^ Dr. Stubbs suggests that this legend is doubtful. Stubbs, 
Lectures on Med. and Mod. Hist., p. 418. 

» The Commons offered £40,000, and the king took £30,000. 

* Eot. Pari, vi. 268-70. 

^ This estimate is taken from Dr. Busoh, p. 283, on the authority 
of Schanz, Engliache HandelspoUtik, &o. Cf. Ital. ltd., p. 60, which 
gives the average at £40,000. 



1485-1309] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 278 

But these sources of revenue were barely adequate. 
The old maxim " that the king should live on his 
own " could only be translated into practice by 
the most careful management in time of peace. 
The constitutional method of obtaining the money 
required for imminent or actual war or for any 
extraordinary expenses was by Parliamentary grant. 
There are records of only five such grants during 
the reign, and it is obvious, from the tone of the 
preambles, that these grants were still regarded as 
exceptional provisions for a national emergency, 
rather than as an ordinary part of the revenue of 
the Crown. The usual form of the levy was that of 
a tax of a tenth and fifteenth, which, though origi- 
nally arranged as an income tax on inhabitants of 
corporate towns and of rural districts — roughly corre- 
sponding to a tax upon personal and real estate- 
had been fixed since 1332 on the basis of that year's 
levy, and consequently produced a sum of about 
£38,000. This form of tax was open to grave objec- 
tions. The changes in the centres of population and 
the decay of once flourishing towns necessitated very 
large remissions in the contributions assessed upon 
certain places. The levy therefore could not be col- 
lected in its entirety, and as the new towns were not 
separately assessed, it certainly did not represent the 
taxable capacity of the people. In his first Parlia- 
ment Henry VII. made an experiment of some im- 
portance, and tried to supersede the antiquated 
assessment by a new levy. It took the form of a 
grant of the tenth part of each man's annual income 
from land, with Is. 8d. from every ten marks of 
personal property. ^ This attempt to supersede the 

1 A similar experiment had been made by Edward IV. in 1472. 
Parliament, however, with a short memory, declared that no such 

S 



274 HENRY VII [U85-1509 

old fixed levy proved a complete failure, probably 
through the absence of any suitable system of valua- 
tion and assessment, and the king, instead of the 
estimated £75,000, obtained only about £25,000. In 
the following year the old system was restored, a 
fifteenth and a tenth being voted to make up the 
deficit. In 1491 two-fifteenths and tenths were 
granted, and were followed by a rising in Yorkshire ; 
in 1495 Parliament was not asked for a new vote, 
but the crisis of 1497 produced two separate grants 
of two-fifteenths and tenths — about £120,000. This 
exceptionally heavy tax led to the march of the 
Cornishmen on the capital. The king foimd that the 
limit of Parliamentary taxation had been reached. 
Only once again in the remaining years of his reign 
did Henry ask Parliament for a grant, and this took 
the form of the feudal aids above mentioned.^ Henry 
found that his power of imposing his will upon Parlia- 
ment had its limits, and he discovered easier ways 
of raising money that fostered instead of irritating 
his despotic temper. 

Some of these were innocent enough. He devised 
his own very successful methods of making wars and 
rumours of wars a source of profit. The greater part 
of the large vote obtained from Parliament for the 
French campaign was saved by the Treaty of Etkples, 
which itself added a punctually paid French pension 

grant had ever before been made. Lincoln, Great Yarmouth, 
New Horsham., and Cambridge were specially exempted. A 
subsidy upon aliens was granted at the same time, at the rate of 
6s. 8d. from every alien craftsman, 40s. from every alien merchant, 
and so on. 

1 Bot. Pari., vi. 532-4. Each of these grants was supplemented 
by a vote from Convocation, which in 1502 also voted a tenth for an 
expedition against the Turks. 



1485-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 275 

to the king's income. The Scotch invasion was used 
in the same way.* Another irregular but not 
illegal device was that of granting new privileges to 
cities and trading companies in return for a money 
grant. London bought new privileges for £5000 in 
1478, but in 1505 had to pay 5000 marks for a con- 
firmation of them. 

The king was not too proud to embark in more 
obviously commercial speculations on his own accoimt, 
and various notes of the profits obtained by royal 
trading in wine, wool, and tin have been preserved.^ 

In emergencies the king asked for and obtained 
loans from his subjects, from great cities, and from 
private individuals. He obtained loans from the city 
of London four or five times — amounting in 1487-8 to 
£6000 — but these loans were always repaid.* 

After the critical period of the reign was over, 
financial methods gradually degenerated. Arbitrary 
and novel financial expedients were substituted for 
the routine of Parliamentary grants. The king had 
the common-sense gift of adapting his methods to his 
circumstances. He walked softly in the early days 
of insecurity, but, his throne once secured, the auto- 
cratic bias of his race appeared. He became impatient 
of the constitutional methods that with small results 
brought bitter hostility. In finance as elsewhere the 
years 1495-8 are the turning-point, and the evils 
increased as the reign went on. Even in the time of 
Morton and Bray, however, financial methods were 

^ More alludes to the "" counterfayte wars " and peace made with 
" holy ceremonies to blind the eyes of the common people." 
Utopia (ed. Lumby), p. 52. 

2 Excerpta Hiatorica, pp. 98, 108, 111, 124. 

8 City Cfi/ron., pp. 193, 194, 212, 213; Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. Ill, 
App. 240. 



276 HENRY VII [1485-1609 

not above suspicion. The benevolence taken in 1491 
in anticipation of the French war had the quasi-legal 
sanction of a Great Council. Private individuals who 
were reputed to be wealthy were approached by 
specially appointed royal commissioners, and asked 
to contribute to the king's necessities definite sums 
fixed with reference to their supposed property. It 
is in connection with these benevolences that the 
Chancellor won unenviable fame as the supposed in- 
ventor of the profitable dilemma of " Morton's fork." 
The assumption of a free-will gift barely veiled the 
true nature of these demands, but a few years later, 
in 1495, Parliament gave a legal basis to the tax and 
empowered the king to collect arrears.^ It was a 
fatally easy way of raising money, produced large 
sums with the minimum of general discontent, and 
kept in check men whose wealth might have made 
them formidable.^ 

Benevolences, though strictly speaking illegal, were 
not glaringly so, and they had the sanction of custom. 
But in later years Henry's methods became more and 
more questionable. 

The darker side of the financial history of the reign 
gathers round the names of Empson and Dudley, 
described by Hall as " two ravenynge wolves " with 
a " garde of false perjured persons apperteignynge 
to them." Dudley was a lawyer of a good Sussex 
family, who had been made a member of the Privy 
Council soon after the king's accession. He was a 

1 11 Hen. VII., cap. 10. 

* The scandalous proceedings against Capell, the London alderman, 
faU well within the earlier period. A case brought into the Court 
of Requests throws new light on Capell's character. He was bold 
enough to deny that the king had unlimited authority in the city 
of London. Court of Requests (Selden Soc), p. 8. 



1485-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 277 

man of great ability. In his book the Tree of the 
Commonwealth, written in 1509, he warns the young 
king against the very evils with which his name is 
associated, denouncing them with the eloquence for 
which he was famous. Empson, though of humble 
birth — ^he was the son of a sieve-maker — had been 
chosen as Speaker of the Parliament of 1491. As 
early as 1496 a proclamation of Warbeck's had pil- 
loried him as responsible with Fox for the exactions. 
From the poverty of the people in general the large 
fortunes of merchants and others were beginning to 
emerge. These accumulations of capital were reached 
by the notorious activities of Empson and Dudley. 
The evil spread like a canker, and by 1500 they 
had reduced their practices to a system and were 
all-powerful in finance. The unscrupulous devices 
hitherto occasionally adopted grew into habitual ex- 
tortions. Together they " turned law and justice into 
wormwood and rapine " ; they were " the Icing's horse- 
leaches and shearers, bold men and careless of fame, 
and that took toll of their master's grist." This vivid 
phrase is illustrated by many a dark story of oppres- 
sion and wrong. Brutality and chicanery, espionage 
and blackmail, were the instruments of their in- 
genious wickedness ; they terrorised the rich and 
trampled on law and justice. The possession of 
wealth was punished as if it were a crime. They 
drew over England a net which few men of position 
or substance escaped. The estates of the wards of 
the Crown were crippled by the exactions of huge 
fines at their coming of age ; many manors were un- 
justly claimed as held in chief of the Crown, and 
owing to the years of civil war, proof to the contrary, 
if dared, was difficult. The worst feature of the whole 
sordid business was the perversion of law and justice 



278 HENRY VII [U85-1509 

by the infliction of enormous fines for the breach of old 
statutes that mouldered forgotten, and it is probable 
that Empson and Dudley were themselves the origi- 
nators of this policy of extortion under cover of the 
law that they carried to such shameful lengths. The 
worst features appeared after 1495, when an Act was 
passed allowing judges to initiate proceedings for 
minor offences on the information of private indi- 
viduals. As a result a vile mob of informers sprang 
up to drag innocent offenders against a forgotten 
code into the clutches of their money-making machine. 
Upon these "dishonest, cunningly-devised, and false 
accusations " huge fines were imposed.^ The perse- 
cution of William Capell, of Thomas Kneysworth, 
the Lord Mayor, and the ruin brought upon Sir 
Robert Plumpton, of which we have details,^ gives 
us an idea of the treatment of a host of forgotten 
men who suffered from a similar abuse of the king's 
office as the foundation of justice. The necessary 
verdicts were obtained from juries by a system of 
mingled terrorism and bribery. Letters came down 
to sheriffs directing them in the way they should go, 
obstinate jurors were fined and imprisoned, and the 
Privy Council dictated verdicts to the judges. The 
inventors of these corrupt devices were themselves 
corrupt — " They preyed upon the people both like 
tame hawks for their master and like wild hawks for 
themselves," and the victim who got caught in the 
new fiscal machinery could sometimes obtain his 
release by bribing one of the presiding mechanics. 
" Noble men grudged, meane men kycked, poore men 

' The Earl of Northumberland was fined £10,000. 

" See PlwmpUm Corresp., cvi.-oxiv., 147, 151-4, 161-2, 167-70, 
183-86 ; GUy Ghron., pp. 195, 199, 205, 261, 262 ; Andr6, Vita, 
108, 126 ; Tear Book, 10 Hen. Vn., fo. 7. 



1485-1609] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 279 

lamented, preachers openly at Paules Crosse and other 
places exclamed, rebuked and detested, but yet they 
would never amende." In spite of the popular hatred 
of the king's jackals, the system was continued to the 
end of the reign. 

The fact that it was hugely profitable would per- 
haps have been sufficient for Henry, but even con- 
temporaries could see in the king's methods something 
more than wholesale robbery. Polydor Vergil noticed 
that the king singled out the very wealthy for his 
attentions, more with a view of keeping them 
humble than from covetousness ; and Ayala that 
the king feared that riches would make his sub- 
jects insolent,^ Henry had to the full the Tudor 
jealousy of subjects who had great wealth or a great 
position. A phrase of More's sums up the king's 
attitude : " No abundance of gold can be sufficient for 
a prince . . . whereas on the other part neade and 
povertie doth holde and keep under stowte courages, 
and maketh them patient perforce, takynge from 
them bolde and rebellynge stomakes." He wished 
to see them all suitably humble, sensible of their 
dependence on royal favour and unable to compete 
with the magnificence of the Crown. It seems, how- 
ever, to be pushing the defence of his hateful 
methods too far to view them from the standpoint 
of a struggle with capital.^ Though we may agree 
that the heavy fines which crushed possible opponents 
were not due to personal avarice, nothing can palliate 
the abuses which poisoned the stream of justice at its 
source. 

The king's genuine financial reforms come as a 

1 Pol. Verg., 613, 616 ; Berg., Spanish Cat., p. 177. 

2 Busoh, op. cit., 298. 



280 HENRY Vll IU85-1509 

relief after the story of his extortions. When it 
came to a question of expending his ill-gotten gain, 
he dropped the character of a highway robber and 
found hiniself at home in that of a comfortable, 
thrifty merchant. 

A considerable reform was carried out in Henry's 
first Parliament, which provided that £14,000 yearly 
derived from Crown lands and customs duties should 
be appropriated to the support of the royal house- 
hold, and a sum of £2105, 19s. to the expenses of the 
king's wardrobe.^ The change was very popular. 
It removed the old grievances about excessive pur- 
veyance for the necessities of the court when on its 
travels, and did away with the peculations of court 
officials who had made very inadequate payments for 
the goods and provisions they took from the people. 
This system of appropriating fixed sources of re- 
venue to definite expenses was carried further. The 
customs of the Staple were assigned to the main- 
tenance of Calais, and a fixed revenue was allotted 
for the upkeep of the border forts of Berwick and 
Carlisle.^ 

This strict dealing with money was carried through 
all the spending departments. Accounts were 
minutely and rigidly kept, and the strictness required 
from officials bound the king himself. The " Privy 
Purse Expenses " are an example of his account- 
keeping, though Bacon's story of the king laboriously 
jotting down accounts in a note-book he kept at his 
side, is a caricature of his carefulness. 

1 Rot. Pa/rl., vi. 299-304. See also 11 Hen. VII., cap. 62 ; Stat., 
ii. 627-30 ; Rot. Pari., 497-602. Edward IV. had made a ainular 
experiment (Rot. Pari., vi. 198), but the change introduced by 
Hemy VII. was permanent. 

" Bot. Pari., vi. 394 ; 11 Hen. VII., oap. 16. 



1485-1609] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 281 

As a result of savings and exactions, reforms and 
malpractices, Henry succeeded in his aim of accumu- 
lating a great treasure. Long before his death his 
reputation for wealth had spread through Europe. 
According to one report he had accumulated so 
much gold that he was supposed "to have more 
than well nigh all the kings of Christendom " ; ^ 
and yet at his death he left a huge hoard of 
treasure, as well as magnificent plate and jewels, to 
his son.^ 

In the later years of his reign there was a consider- 
able change in Henry's constitutional methods. In 
spite of the control he had obtained over Parliament, 
he showed a tendency to govern without even such 
nominal check. Parliament was only summoned once 
during the last thirteen years of the reign, and when 
it met, in 1504, Henry announced that he did not 
mean to call Parliament together again without 
" great necessity and urgent cause." The reason 
may perhaps be found in his irregular but lucrative 
financial methods, and in the impatience of opposition 
that came from advancing age and familiarity with 
supreme power. Henry no longer needed Parliament 
as a subservient ally to give support to an usurping 
dynasty, and he shirked a conflict over finance as an 
unnecessary irritation to a powerful monarch whose 
rule was undisputed and undisturbed. The prestige 
of the Crown grew with every year that went by 

1 Brown, Ven. Cal., i. p. 346. 

' Bacon's estimate of the treasure at £1,800,000 has been followed 
by later historians, though the sotirce of it is not apparent. It was 
certainly not too high an estimate. In 1497 the Milanese envoy 
estimated Henry's savings at £1,350,000, to which he added £112,500 
yearly (Brown, No. 751, 795, 942). In 1809 he was described as 
" the wisest and richest lord now known to the world." 



282 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

without a meeting of the people's representatives. 
Parliament met so seldom that it took on the appear- 
ance of an exceptional and occasional part of the 
State machinery, the Crown representing the per- 
manent and vital part of it. 

The king's personal taste for autocratic government 
came to the front. By the increasing use of letters 
patent and proclamations he extended the sphere of 
his personal action. By proclamation he prohibited 
commercial intercourse with the Netherlands, and by 
proclamation allowed its renewal.^ Every year he 
grasped more power. 

His provision for the defence of his throne and 
kingdom was thorough and effective. In naval affairs 
he did his usual pioneer work. At his accession 
there were apparently only four ships owned by the 
Crown, there was no reserve of naval stores, and 
pirates roved the Channel unchecked. His reign is 
a very significant one in the history of the navy. He 
adopted the policy of building ships for use as men- 
of-war only, in order to have a nucleus to strengthen 
the hastily armed ships hired from the merchants. 
He added to the royal navy the two finest men-of- 
war ever seen in England, the Henry Grace a Dieu 
(afterwards known as the Regent) and the Sovereign. 
Both were built in England under the superintendence 
of Bray and Guildford, and were launched in 1488 
and 1489.^ The first dry dock in England was built 

^ He not infrequently enlarged the scope of Acts of Parliament 
by proclamation, e.g. Proclamations dealt with the coinage, regu- 
lated trade, ordered the taking up of knighthoods, &o. e.g. City 
Chron., p. 212. 

^ In 1497 two smaller ships, the Sweepstake and the Mary Fortune, 
followed. The Margaret was captured from Scotland, and the 
Carvel of Eu and the King's Bark were purchased. The new ships 
built by Henry were the first to be fitted with portholes. 



1485-1609] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 283 

by Henry at Portsmouth in 1496.^ With character- 
istic economy the king adopted a pohcy of hiring out 
his men-of-war to merchants when they were not 
required for the royal service, and the Sovereign once 
took a trading voyage to the Levant, The effect of 
the Navigation Laws on the development of the 
merchant fleet has already been noticed.^ Further, 
he inaugurated the bounty system, a bonus of about 
5s. a ton being given to shipbuilders who constructed 
suitable vessels,* began a naval storehouse at Green- 
wich, and started the manufacture of heavy guns in 
England, usually attributed to Henry VIII. * 

The navy under Henry VII. became a weapon of 
offence, not a mere means of transport for troops. 
In the blockade of Sluys in 1492, and in the height of 
the Perkin Warbeck difficulty, it did valuable work. 
But the important point is not the actual exploits of 
the fleet — ^though they were creditable enough — ^but 
the beginning of the naval development, which, fol- 
lowed up by Henry VIII. and triumphing under 
Elizabeth, left to seventeenth and eighteenth century 
England the ambition for the command of the seas.* 

Henry's unambitious land policy made the develop- 
ment of the army less necessary, and therefore less 
striking, than that of the navy. Fortune as usual 
fought for the king. A great change in the art of 
war was going on. The increasing use of gunpowder 
reduced the glittering army of feudalism to im- 

1 The interesting question as to where Henry got his idea of a 
dry dock from cannot be settled. There were no such docks in 
Prance or Spain. Oppenheim, Naval Accounts, xxxiv.-xxxvii. 

' See above, p. 164. 

' This policy was pursued by Henry VIII. and Elizabeth. Oppen- 
heim, Naoal Accounts, xxix., xxx. 

* Oppenheim, op. cit., xxx., xxxiii., 84 n. 

^ Clowes, Royal Naoy. 



284 HENRY VII [U85-1509 

potence, and diminished the chances and therefore 
the frequency of rebeUions. The strict watch and 
ward kept at Calais, Berwick, and the Tower of 
London — ^the gates and the key of the kingdom — 
did not escape foreign observers. In the Tower the 
king kept a great store of the heavy artillery that 
decided the fate of thrones, and the gloomy fortress 
on the river played a great part all through the 
Tudor period. The Italian observer reported that 
Henry meant to keep his hold on the realm he had 
won ; he had shown in the crises of his reign " that if 
worsted in the open field he would defend himself in 
the fortresses. . . . He did not mean to wager the 
Crown on the issue of a single battle." ^ By crushing 
the power of the great nobles, and by suppressing 
livery and maintenance, he secured control of the 
ordinary militia and left it without a rival. Thus he 
was able to put into the field a force which, with the 
help of a train of artillery, was sufficient to crush the 
various rebellions. The institution of the yeomen of 
the guard, the small company of " proved archers, 
strong, valiant, and bold men," that added dignity to 
the king's person, attracted considerable notice at the 
time,^ and was later the nucleus of the standing army. 
There are a few expressions to be found in contem- 
porary historians which hint at the employment of 
German mercenaries. Thus medieval traditions and 
modern methods went hand in hand.* 

But Henry's military and naval arrangements were 
not the key to the situation. His was not a blood- 
stained military despotism ; but a rule that, depending 

1 Ital. Bel., pp. 45, 46. ^ /^j^^.^ p_ 39, gee above, p. 42. 

= Andr6, Annales, 127 ; Pol. Verg., 567 ; Ital. Bel., 45, 47 ; Brown, 
No. 751. See Fortescue, Hist, of British Army, 1, 77-8, 108-14, 
for a full aoooimt of the changes introduced by Henry VII, 



U85-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 285 

upon statecraft and the balancing of opposing forces, 
governing by persuasion and insinuation, brought the 
king into very intimate relations with his subjects, and 
only at the end showed the bold hand of tyranny. 
There are many glimpses of the Way in which the 
king's compelling, if not agreeable, personality swayed 
events. Royal letters, comparatively few as they are, 
show how intimate the king's relations with his sub- 
jects were. Those who helped him at critical moments 
received graciously worded letters thanking them for 
their good and agreeable service.^ Henry's influ- 
ence over those with whom he came personally into 
contact seems to have been very strong. The king 
evidently realised the extent of his persuasive power, 
and was anxious to subject to it men as diverse 
in character as James of Scotland, the Earl of 
Kildare, and the Archduke Philip. All the really 
responsible posts in the kingdom were held by men 
who constantly came into contact with the king. 
" He was affable and both well and fair spoken," 
writes Bacon, " and would use strange sweetness and 
blandishments where he desired to effect or persuade 
anything he took to heart." 

But the king's personal influence was used to 
coerce as well as to cajole. The true Tudor note, 
imperious, high-handed, threatening, is often struck 
in Henry's letters. Sir William Say, who thought of 
overawing the next sessions by an " imlawful assembly 
and conventicle," received a peremptory letter from 
his sovereign, ordering him to come to the king " to 
hear his mind in the matter." ^ The bailiffs of Lan- 
caster who had " taken lyveries and conysaunces to 

1 e.g. see PVwmpton Oorresp., Intro., xoviii. 

2 Ellis, Orig. Letters, I. (i.), 40. 



286 HENRY VII [U85-1509 

the great damage of the town " were terrified by a 
sharp letter from the king ; the men of Leicester 
who " of their obstinacie and frowardnes " presimied 
to use their own stalls, shambles, and ovens instead 
of those " bilded' for their ease " (and for the king's 
profit !) were roundlj^ rebuked.^ The whole history 
of the king's relations with the great and disaffected 
city of York are a splendid instance of his autocratic 
methods.^ He did not hesitate to interfere with 
municipal elections, even in the capital itself, where 
in 1505 a properly elected sheriff was set aside, and 
the return of the king's nominee at a new election 
ordered and secured. 

The deterioration in the method and spirit of 
Henry's government in his later years has already been 
\ mentioned. It seems as if the king's character, which 
shone in adversity, was warped by success. The 
harsh methods, excusable in danger, became harsher 
when obedience invited a milder rule. To this period 
belong the things which have been blots on the 
king's fame, the detestable financial methods, the spy 
system, and the base activity of the informers. 

The power of the Crown threatened the liberties it 
had formerly guarded. A statute of 1495, passed by 
the Parliament which has so many valuable laws to 
its credit,* had introduced the odious system of the in- 
formers, which was certainly foreign to English juris- 
prudence. The Act which was passed to provide 
against the corruption of jurors, authorised any indi- 
vidual to lay information before any justice of the 
peace, or assize judge, who could institute proceedings 
in his own court against the alleged offender, and try 

1 CampbeU, Mat., ii. 275, 369-70, 461-2, 476-7. 

' Gent. Mag., N. S., vol. xxxvi., p. 460. 

* It passed 65 statutes, a very large nvimber for the time. 



U85-1509] LEGISLATION AND FINANCE 287 

the case without a jury. The only safeguard against 
maUcious prosecution was that the informer had to 
pay the costs of the person wrongfully accused, if he 
failed to make good his charge,' and it appears that 
this safeguard was often evaded.^ By the statute of 
1504, inflicting further penalties on maintenance, the 
same informer system was set in motion. Here we 
have the first appearance of the sinister machinery of 
espionage and paid informers which is frequently 
characteristic of despotism, and the first glimpse of 
the process by which the court of Star Chamber 
degenerated into the hated weapon of weak tyranny. 
This system of " secret spials," the king's " flies 
and familiars," has earned well-merited obloquy as 
an excrescence of foreign origin, alien to the English 
character, foisted by Henry on his people. This 
system of espionage, which grew out of the dangerous 
circumstances of the early years, when treason and 
rebellion were bred in rumour and whisper, suited the 
darker side of the king's temper, and was continued 
long after the dangers that might have partially 
excused it were over. There are many evidences of 
its prevalence ; Henry's agents varied from the Scotch 
nobles, whose repulsive dealings with him have 
already been noticed, down to the " monk with a 
berde," whose investigations in Ireland met with 
their inextravagant reward. Even the courts of 
foreign princes harboured Henry's spies, and the 
actions of the English refugees were watched and 
reported on.^ The man who spoke seditiously of 
the Crown — " against our majesty royal " is the sig- 

1 11 Hen. VII., cap. 3 ; Stat., ii. 570. ^ xtal. Bel., pp. 333-4. 

* These underground methods are illustrated by an intrigue 
which took place in 1503. The story is more than usually fan- 
tastic ; it is difl&cidt to be sure who was traitor and who spy. See 
Hist. Soc. Trans. (N. S.), xvi. 133-151, xviii. 157-195. 



288 HENRY VII [U85-1509 

nificant phrase used — sat in the pillory and lost his 
ears.^ Municipalities were ordered to put down 
" contrivers of forged news," the Bishop of Durham 
is ordered to search " the caskettes, males, and 
tronkkes " of suspected persons in his franchise.^ 

And yet such was the strength of his position, that 
his increasingly despotic rule became increasingly 
popular. His policy spared the common people and 
pressed hardly on wealthy individuals, depressed the 
great nobles and favoured the " faithful commons," 
preserved the constitutional forms of popular freedom, 
while in individual cases the weight of despotism 
wrested these forms to the king's own ends. 
Working through the venerable forms of the consti- 
tution, the king allied himself with the most stable 
and at the same time the most progressive elements 
of society. Commerce and capitalism, the forces 
that have been conspicuous in the modern world, 
were enlisted under Henry's standard. Every gift 
of nature and fortune marked him out for kingship, 
and every nerve was strained by this bold, self- 
willed, dominating man to secure his grip on the 
kingdom he had won. He never lost sight of 
this object. His diplomatic successes, his zeal for 
peace and chain of marriage alliances, his firm treat- 
ment of Ireland, and successful commercial policy, all 
added prestige and security to his despotism. Every 
success he gained abroad made him more formidable 
at home. When he died, the great work he had 
undertaken was done. He altered the balance of the 
English constitution for more than a century, and left 
to his successors the fabric of a despotism touched with 
the Tudor characteristics of popularity and success. 

1 Gent. Mag., loo. oit., 460, 462 ; City Chronicle, 256. 

2 L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 98-100. 



CHAPTER VIII 

IRELAND: THE RENAISSANCE: VOYAGES OF 
DISCOVERY 

Ireland at the accession of Henry VII. reproduced 
in an exaggerated form all the evils of anarchy and 
violence that were to be found in England. The central 
government, too weak to check disorder even in 
England, was powerless to repress outrage in distant 
Ireland. There tribal war flourished; the yoke of 
England lay lightly upon the people. The patriarchal 
system of clan government still remained among the 
Celtic tribes. The authority of the nominal govern- 
ment was non-existent outside the English Pale, a 
strip of territory about thirty miles wide stretching 
from Dublin to Dundalk along the coast nearest to 
England. Where the Norman conquerors had landed 
and first settled, their descendants, the Anglo-Irish 
nobility, still lived, maintaining their grip upon even 
this little fraction by building a chain of castles. 
But Irish influences had leapt the barrier, and the 
Anglo-Irish lords of the Pale became year by year less 
English in their habits and sympathies and less alien 
from the wild Irish who howled outside the Pale. 
The strife within the ring of castles was bitterer and 
more constant than the tribal wars without. The 
two great ruling families — the Butlers and the Geral- 
dines — had quarrelled with more or less violence for 
centuries, and the Wars of the Roses had added fuel to 

289 ,j. 



290 HENRY VII [1485 

the flame.'^ They, of course, took different sides, and 
attached themselves fanatically to the parties of the 
red and the white rose, whose fortunes cannot have 
affected them very deeply. 

The power of the English Crown was shadowy 
enough. English kings had borne the title of Lords 
of Ireland for hundreds of years ; they had taken up 
the burden of responsibility without power, a burden, 
it must be confessed, they bore very negligently. It 
was the custom to delegate the power of the king to 
a Viceroy or Lord-Lieutenant, who was usually a 
member of the royal family. The Lord-Lieutenant, 
however, was but the shadow of a shade. The real 
power lay with another official. The plan had long 
been adopted of making the Irish govern themselves 
by appointing one of the Anglo-Irish lords as Lord- 
Deputy. It was the holder of this office who exer- 
cised the only authority that was recognised in 
Ireland, but the sword of justice in the hand of the 
Lord-Deputy did not reach beyond the English Pale. 
Even within the Pale it was the weapon of a faction 
rather than the arm of the law, and was quite as 
likely to be used against as for the far-off English 
king. Authority of a kind, however, the Lord-Deputy 
certainly had, and the office was therefore a bone of 
contention among the rival parties. Andr6 did no 
injustice to Ireland when he described it as " a 
country of savages, a den of thieves and murderers, 
where there is neither peace, love, nor concord, but 
only treason and the foulest deeds." ^ 

Thus Henry VII. when he had secured his hold 
upon England, was faced by an Irish problem as acute 

' For an account of the feuds, see Book of Howth, i. 177. 
^ Andr^, Les douze triomphes de Henry VII., Memorials (ed. 
Gairdner), 147. 



1485] IRELAND 291 

as any of its endless line has been. The state of 
Ireland was a menace to his scarcely established 
throne. If he were to be safe in England, he must 
make good his hold upon a country of which he was 
nominally lord, but where men of his race were safe 
only on the edge of the country, and where even 
within this strip the supreme authority was in the 
hands of the hereditary foes of his house. 

Ownership of broad lands in Ireland had given the 
house of York some influence there. Richard Duke 
of York's period of office as Viceroy was a brilliant 
memory. He had declared for an independent Irish 
Parliament ; his son, the Duke of Clarence, had 
adopted a similar policy of conciliation, and tradition 
associated the Yorkists with the dream of Irish in- 
dependence. The Geraldines, who supported the 
Yorkist party, were the most powerful family in 
Ireland. One Earl of Kildare had been Lord-Deputy 
under Edward IV., and his son had held the office 
under Richard III. Their rivals, the Lancastrian 
Butlers, had been disgraced and attainted, and the 
head of the family, Thomas, Earl of Ormond, was 
living in England. 

The king did not make any changes at first. The 
Duke of Bedford was given the empty title of Lord- 
Lieutenant,^ and the outlawed Butlers were restored 
to their estates. The Earl of Ormond, who resided 
in England, became a member of the Council, was 
appointed chamberlain to the queen, and received a 
pension and other marks of royal favour. His 
bastard cousin. Sir James Ormond (who is often called 
Earl of Ormond by Irish writers), was practically 

' Campbell, Materials, i. 384. He was to hold office for two years, 
but all appointments and promotions in Ireland were reserved for 
the Crown. In 1488 hisjappointment was renewed. Ibid., ii. 351. 



292 HENRY VII [148 

the head of the clan in Ireland, and represented th 
absent earl.^ 

Though the hostility of the Geraldines to a Lan 
castrian king was unpleasantly certain, Henry darec 
not interfere with them. He con&med the Earl o 
Kildare in his title of Lord-Deputy ; his brother 
Thomas Fitzgerald, remained Chancellor of Ireland 
Thus the Yorkist party, defeated in England, wen 
still supreme in Ireland, and ready to take any op 
portunity of thwarting the king. Lambert Simnel'; 
appearance was an opportunity, and Irish enthusiasn 
crowned him king in Dublin, and carried him ove] 
to make his ill-fated attempt on England.^ 

One or two towns, the most important of whicl 
was Waterford,^ had held aloof from the pretender 
but the rest of the country had flaunted its dis 
loyalty. Every one of note, from the Lord-Deputy anc 
the archbishop downwards, had dabbled in the plot 
Henry obviously could not punish the whole countrj 
as rebels ; clemency was the only possible attitude. 
Again he ignored what he could not punish, and the 
Irish rebels were not included in the attainders oj 
the English Parliament.* Even after the battle ol 
Stoke had disposed of Lambert Simnel, the Geraldines 
in Ireland remained in revolt, and Dublin itself was 
in their hands. The loyal town of Waterford was 
rewarded by a letter from Henry himself, giving them 
permission to capture the Geraldine rebels and seize 
all their goods bound for Dublin.^ 

> Campbell, Materials, i. 130, 295, 528. " See above, p. 63. 

' It had given shelter to the Butlers and other loyalists. Feeling 
rose so high that Kildare dared not trust his herald within the waUi 
of the town. 

* Rot. Pari., vi. 397 ; L. and P. Hen VII., i. 383-4 ; Book of Howth 
(Carew Misc. Papers.), pp. 388, 472, 473. 

' Garew Papers, p. 467. 



1488] IRELAND 293 

In May 1488 the king made his first cautious move 
towards asserting his authority in Ireland. He en- 
trusted to Sir Richard Edgecombe, who seems to 
have been chosen for many dehcate negotiations, the 
difficult task of trying to obtain some security for 
the future good behaviour of the Anglo-Irish lords. 
He was directed to receive and pardon those Irish 
who would submit and take a new oath of allegiance, 
and to proceed against rebels and traitors. He was 
also if possible — and this was given a very important 
place in the detailed instructions he received from the 
king — ^to induce the Earl of Kildare by the offer of a 
safe conduct to come over to England to visit the 
king. But Kildare excused himself, and Henry's hope 
of trying the effect of his personal influence upon the 
rebellious earl was disappointed. Edgecombe's mission 
was fairly successful. The mayors and corporations 
of Waterford, Kinsale, Drogheda, Trim, and even 
Dublin took the oath of allegiance, but he had a 
hard task with Kildare and his followers. The earl 
kept him waiting in Dublin over a week. When he 
at last arrived, Edgecombe received him without 
ceremony, " and made not reverence and courtesy to 
him or his followers." After " many fayned and 
unreasonable delays," the earl and his men, receiving 
promise of pardon, made their submission. In spite 
of Edgecombe's " right fell and angry words," they 
refused to give surety for their good behaviour. 
" They would rather become Irish every one of them," 
they said, and Henry's envoy had to content himself 
with drawing up a strictly worded oath. This did 
not please Kildare, and had to be modified. The earl, 
on 21st June 1488, having been " shriven and 
assoiled from the curse that he stood in by virtue of 
the Pope's Bull," swore allegiance to Henry, holding 



294 HENRY VII [1488-9 

his right hand over the host. His foUowefs and the 
bishops did the same, and a general pardon was pro- 
claimed.i A solemn Te Deum was sung, the church 
bells rang, and the earl wore a collar of the king's 
livery round his neck as he rode through the streets 
of Dublin When Edgecombe sailed for England at 
the beginning of August, the widespread disaffection 
in Ireland was masked under a decent veil of sub- 
mission and obedience.^ 

Kildare, emboldened by impunity, set up a reign of 
terror in Ireland. The Archbishop of Armagh, who, 
according to his own account, had remained loyal to 
Henry throughout the Lambert Simnel episode, wrote 
a letter of complaint bringing serious charges against 
the earl, and suggesting as a solution of the difficulty 
that he, the bishop, should be appointed as chancellor 
to keep the earl in check. ^ At the same time Kildare 
had petitioned Henry for confirmation in his office 
of Lord-Deputy for a period of nine or ten years, 
with a salary of £1000. Negotiating through John 
Estrete, receiver of taxes in Dublin, Henry promised 
him a safe conduct and favourable consideration of 
his petition, on condition that he appeared at Henry's 
court before the 1st of August 1491.* 

1 Edgecombe had taken with him powers for a general pardon. 
Campbell, Materials, ii. 316-317. 

^ A full account of Edgecombe's mission is given in Harris, 
Hibemica, pp. 69-77, where Edgecombe's detailed report is printed. 

' L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 383-384. 

* L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 91-3. There has been considerable diffi- 
culty in assigning an exact date to these undated instructions, but 
Dr. Busch has shown, I think conclusively, that the dates usually 
given (1486 or earlier still) are wrong. The undated letters from 
Kildare and his followers printed by Gairdner, L. and P. Hen. VII., 
evidently refer to these instructions, and the latter, on the evidence 
brought forward by Dr. Busch {England under the Tudora, chap. i. 
note 11), may be placed in July 1490. 



1490-1] IRELAND 295 

Nearly a year went by before Kildare wrote, ex- 
cusing himself for his non-appearance in very dutiful 
language, on the plea that his presence in Ireland 
was necessary to settle the feuds between his cousins 
the Earl of Desmond and the Lord Bourke. He made 
many protestations of loyalty. " I beseech humbley 
your noble grace to be my gracious lord, for I am and 
shal be durynge my lywe your true knight and never 
shal be proved otherwise," and so on. Letters signed 
by other Irish lords supported his plea, and enlarged 
on his loyalty and on the fact that the north of 
Ireland would be destroyed by the king's Irish 
enemies in his absence.^ But almost at the very 
moment when these dutiful letters were being sent 
to Henry, Kildare and Desmond were involving 
themselves in further treachery. The support given 
by Kildare to Perkin Warbeck, when he appeared in 
Ireland in the autumn of 1491, has already been 
noticed. 2 The king at last felt himself strong enough 
to punish Kildare's treachery, and on 11th June 1492, 
Walter, Archbishop of Dublin, was made Deputy in 
Kildare's place. Sir James Ormond, who had been 
the leader of the army sent in the previous December 
against the Irish rebels, was made Treasurer, and 
Alexander Plunkett Chancellor of Ireland.^ All the 
Kildares were therefore deprived; Henry refused to 
receive Kildare's messengers, and the disgraced earl 
had to intercede with his old rival, the Earl of 
Ormond, to use his influence with the king. He 
denied that he had " aided, comforted, or supported 
the French lad," and tried to excite Ormond's 
jealousy about the favour shown by Henry to his 
" base cousin." * Henry remained firm, but Ormond 

1 L. and. P. Hen. VII., i. 380-4. ^ gee above, pp. 113-5. 

^ L.cmdP. Hem,. VII., ii. 372-4. « Ibid., ii. 53-6. 



296 HENRY VII [H92-3 

was not strong enough to keep order. The old feud 
again blazed fiercely. Butlers and Geraldines wasted 
each other's lands and rioted in the streets of Dublin.^ 
A meeting of the leaders held in the cathedral ended 
in a free fight. Sir James Ormond took refuge in 
the chapter-house, and refused to leave his refuge 
until terms of agreement had been settled, and even 
then a hole had to be cut in the door through which 
Kildare and Ormond shook hands. 

It was clear that there could be no peace in Ireland 
while Ormond was in authority and Kildare in dis- 
grace. The earl again sued for a pardon, which he 
received conditionally on 22nd March 1493, pro- 
mising to present himself in England before the 1st of 
October. A few days later the forfeiture of Kildare's 
lands was annulled, on condition that he sent his 
eldest son to England within six months. This 
policy of subjecting the Irish lords to the influence 
of an English education was imitated and carried to 
much greater lengths by Henry VIII. 

In May or June 1493, Kildare and several other 
Irish lords, including the Lord of Howth (to whose 
lively pen we owe an account of some of their meet- 
ings with Henry) arrived at the English court. He 
records a remark made by one of them, who, trembling 
with fear, was walking with some English lords in a 
procession. " Sir," he said to the Lord of Howth, 
" there shall be no butchery done upon none of us 
this time, praise be to God, for the face of the axe 
is turned from us." Henry was in no mood for 
executions, but he treated his late rebels to a touch 
of his ironic humour when he provided as their cup- 
bearer " their new king, Lambarte Simnel." " None 
would have taken the cup out of his hands, but bade 
1 Book of Houith, p. 176. « Ibid. 



1493-4] IRELAND 297 

the great Devil of Hell him take before that ever he 
saw him." " Bring me the cup if the wine be good," 
said the Lord of Howth, being a merry gentleman, 
" and I shall drink it off for the wine's sake and mine 
own sake also, and for thee, as thou art, so I leave 
thee, a poor innocent." ^ The other Irish lords had 
not the assurance that came from Howth's loyalty 
(he had warned the king of Simnel's " mad dance " 
and of Perkin Warbeck's schemes), and they felt the 
sting of Henry's mocking words, " My masters of 
Ireland, you will crown apes at length." ^ 

Though Kildare received a full pardon (22nd June 
1493), he was not restored to the office of deputy, 
which was given to Lord Gormaston, one of the lords 
who had accompanied Kildare to London, while 
Ormond was given an annuity of £100 and the 
constableship of Limerick Castle.^ Kildare again 
visited England in November in the hope of being 
reinstated, but in this he was disappointed.* Henry 
had resolved on trying another experiment. He 
abandoned the tradition of choosing the deputy from 
among the Irish lords, and resolved to appoint an 
Englishman of ability and tried loyalty, who would 
not be hampered in his treatment of Irish affairs by 
alliance with either of the rival houses. 

On 12th September 1494, Prince Henry became 
Lord-Lieutenant of Ireland in place of the Duke of 
Bedford, and Sir Edward Poynings, who had already 
distinguished himself in Henry's service, was ap- 
pointed Lord-Deputy. 5 Two other distinguished 
Englishmen, the Bishop of Bangor and Sir Hugh 

1 Book of Howth, p. 190. ^ Ihid. 

' L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 374. 

* Dr. Busch (Henry VII., p. 341) gives reasons for doubting the 
dates assigned by Dr. Gairdner and Bagwell to these visits. 

'■ L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 374 ; Rymer, xii. 558-62. 



298 HENRY VII [1*94 

Conway, were given the offices of chancellor and 
treasurer, and new chief justices were appointed. 
On 13th October 1494, Poynings landed at Howth 
with a force of 1000 men,i and at once marched 
against the rebels who had supported Perkin War- 
beck in Ulster. Both Geraldines and Butlers marched 
under his banner. This strange unanimity was not 
to last long. Before the campaign was well begun 
Kildare fell under suspicion. It was alleged that he 
and the Earl of Desmond were plotting with the 
King of Scotland against Henry, and the conduct 
of James Fitzgerald, who seized the castle of Carlow 
and defended it obstinately against Poynings, gave 
some colour to the charge. The divisions in his own 
ranks made Poynings give up his punitive expedition. 
After the capture of Carlow, he retired to Drogheda 
and summoned the Parliament which met on 1st 
December 1494, and passed the famous Poynings' Acts.^ 
One statute provided that no Parliament should be 
summoned in Ireland until the cause of summons 
and the proposed legislation had been submitted to 
and approved by the king in council; and the Irish 
Parliament was then to be summoned under the great 
seal of England. The second statute provided that 
all Acts, " late made within the said realm of 
England," should be in force in Ireland.' These 
statutes were of permanent importance, and governed 
the legislative relations of England and Ireland for 
three hundred years. The Irish Parliament became 

' For Poynings' commission, see Patent Rolls, 12 September, 10 
Hen. VII., m. 18. 

^ Irish Statutes, p. 3 ; Carew Papers, pp. 456, 483-4. 

' Disputes arose later as to the meaning of this Act, the decision 
being that all statutes of the English Parhament made prior to 
1495 should be in force in Ireland. Maitland, Const. Hist. 



1494] IRELAND 299 

an echo of the king in council in England. Henry 
achieved in Ireland a legal foundation for the system 
of personal government, which lasted long after his 
work in England had been swept away. 

Less attention has been given to the other legis- 
lation of the Parliament of Drogheda, which, how- 
ever, read in connection with Henry's establishment 
of despotism in England, is curiously interesting. 
It struck at all the forces of disruption and disorder. 
Kildare was attainted for his recent treason, arrested, 
and sent to England.^ An Act was passed providing 
that judges and other officials were to hold office 
at the king's pleasure, not for life. Livery and 
maintenance were forbidden, family war-cries were 
prohibited, and licences to carry firearms had to 
be obtained from the deputy. Some of the pro- 
visions of the Statutes of Kilkenny, which had 
attempted to promote the spread of English cus- 
toms by legislation, were re-enacted. Another 
enactment shows the king's anxiety to mark off 
the boundaries of the " English Pale." Every in- 
habitant of the marches of Dublin, Meath, Kildare, 
and Louth were to make a double ditch of six feet 
above ground on the side " which meareth next unto 
Irishmen." Further, an Act provided that no man 
who was not born in England could be constable of 
any of the eight castles of the Pale. The necessity 
for these provisions proves the weakness of the 
English colony in Ireland, and illustrates the cautious 
character of the king's methods, which succeeded 
where a more ambitious policy would have failed.^ 

Henry had also attempted to deal with the financial 

1 Garew Pa/pers, pp. 483-4. 

^ At the same time Henry was making strict inquiry as to the 
Irishmen resident in England. City Chron., p. 207. 



300 HENRY VII [1495 

problem. The royal revenue had greatly declined 
and Ireland did not even pay for the expenses of 
government. In 1495, William Hattcliffe, one of the 
clerks of account in the royal household, who had 
gained experience of the king's methods, was sent 
over to Ireland, nominally as under-treasurer, but 
with very wide powers. He practically overhauled 
the whole system of expenditure, investigated the 
returns of sheriffs, and audited the lord treasurer's 
accounts. His accounts, which are minute and curious,^ 
deal with varied items of expenditure — the payment 
of English troops in Ireland, subsidies to Irish allies 
and the general expenses of government. Many 
payments to spies, who were generally priests or 
monks, are entered. One visited the marches of the 
Pale to report on the habits of the people there; 
another went to Munster to spy upon Earl Desmond, 
Perkin Warbeck, and other rebels, and so on.^ The 
accounts include Hattcliffe's personal expenses and 
detailed items like the price of the key of the Dublin 
customs house. In spite of Hattcliffe's care, the 
revenue obtained from Ireland, though possibly 
adequate in time of peace, was insuflRcient in time 
of war or rebellion. 

In July 1495, Perkin Warbeck was again in Ireland, 
and the country was in arms in his support. Poynings 
himself marched against him, but the joint attack of 
Warbeck and Desmond on Waterford was beaten off 
by the mayor and inhabitants before the king's troops 
arrived.* Reinforcements and supplies of money 
were sent over to Ireland, and Hattcliffe's accounts 

' An extract is printed in Gairdner, L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 
297—318. Instructions for this financial inquiry are printed pp. 
64^67, and are typical of the king's careful methods. 

' L.cmdP. Hen. VII., ii. 298, 299. ' See above, p. 130. 



1496] IRELAND 301 

show that the expenditure largely exceeded the revenue. 
Even when the pretender had gone, peace was not 
restored. The practice of employing Irish chiefs to 
fight against their rebellious fellow-countrymen made 
a state of war profitable to many. Sir James 
Ormond, that " deep and far-reaching man," lies 
under the suspicion of being at the bottom of many 
of the later disturbances. He found his profit in 
stirring up sedition, which he was later employed to 
put down.i 

The Geraldines also, incensed at Kildare's deten- 
tion, were making raids on the English district and 
keeping the whole country in an uproar. The king 
found that the earl's people gave him more trouble 
when he was in England than ever before, and it 
seemed politic to give him another chance of prov- 
ing his loyalty. The personal equation may have 
counted for something. The Book of Howth gives 
several stories of Kildare's stay in England. We are 
told that he was " but half an innocent man without 
great knowledge or learning, but rudely brought up 
according to the usages of his country." His blunt 
speech and unpolished naanner — " oft in his talk he 
thou'd the king and the rest of his council " — seem 
to have amused the king. He was called upon to 
answer various charges brought against him by the 
Bishop of Meath, one of them being a riot when 
the earl chased him into a church and, finding 
him kneeling bare-headed in the chancel, " By 
Saint Bride," said the earl, " were it not that I 
know that my prince would be offended with me, I 
could find it in my heart to lay my sword upon your 

1 L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. Intro, xl. As Dr. Gairdner has pointed 
out, it would seem that just when Kildare grew loyal, Ormond 
became seditious. 



302 HENRY VII [U95-6 

shaven crown," and so took the bishop. To charges 
of this kind the earl protested he could find no ready 
answer ; " the bishop was learned and so was not he, 
and those matters was long agone out of his mind, 
though he had done them, and so forgotten." He 
took the opportunity to tell three " good tales of 
this vicious prelate," whereupon the king and his 
lords " could not hold their laughter, but the earl 
never changed countenance." The king advised him 
to choose a wise counsellor; and his answer introduces 
the story, which, though well known, must be repeated 
as one of the few which give a glimpse of Henry in 
his lighter moods. " ' Shall I choose now,' said the 
earl. ' If you so think good,' answered the king. 
' Well; I can see no better man than you, and by 
Saint Bride ! I will choose none other.' ' Well,' 
said the king, ' by Saint Bride it was well requisite 
for you to choose so, for I thought your tale could 
not well excuse your doings unless you had well 
chosen.' ' Do you think that I am a fool ? ' said 
the earl. ' No,' said he, ' I am a man in deed both 
in the field and in the town.' The king laughed 
and made sport; and said, ' A wiser man might have 
chosen worse.' ' Well,' said the bishop, ' he is as 
you see, for all Ireland cannot rule yonder gentleman.' 
' No,' said the king, ' then he is meet to rule all 
Ireland,' and so made the earl Deputy of Ireland 
during his life, and so sent him to the country with 
great gifts." ^ 

Henry had the tact and instinct for judging men 
possessed by all the Tudors. Though tenacious of his 
dignity, he appreciated plain speaking from a bold 
man, and found a way of profiting by the daring 
that made Kildare formidable in opposition. Kil- 

1 Book of Howth, pp. 180-1. 



1496-7] IRELAND 303 

dare's attainder was reversed, he was restored to his 
titles and dignities and his appointment as Lord 
Deputy.^ He had evidently fallen much under the 
king's influence. He had married as his second wife 
Elizabeth St. John, Henry's first cousin, and he 
left his son Gerald as a hostage at court. Hence- 
forward he does not seem to have wavered in his 
allegiance. 

Hattcliffe's accounts prove that the work of reducing 
Ireland to order was going on. A subsidy was col- 
lected at double the old rates, but there were still 
heavy expenses in maintaining the English troops 
and subsidiary Irish levies.^ 

The best evidence of the success of Henry's Irish 
policy is the lack of support obtained by Perkin 
Warbeck when he reappeared before the city of Cork 
on 20th July 1497. In this most critical moment of 
a difficult reign, great issues hung on the fate of the 
adventurer's last bid for fortune. The hope of Irish 
support was a vital point in his plans. That support, 
however, he failed to get. His former friends had 
been won over by Henry, and even Desmond failed 
him. The city of Waterford once more proved its 
loyalty, and fitted out four ships to give chase to 
Perkin. It was obvious that Ireland was no longer 
a happy hunting ground for traitors and pretenders. 
The city of Waterford received a letter of thanks 
from the king, a cap of maintenance, and the proud 
title of Urbs intacta.^ 

For the rest of the reign; affairs in Ireland did not 
call for Henry's interference. There were the usual 

1 6th August 1496 ; Rot. Pari., vi. 481-2 ; Stat., ii. 612-3 ; Ex- 
cerpta Hist., 109. 

2 L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. pp. 316-7. 

' Smith, Waterford, printing the king's letter. See above, pp. 
155-6. 



304 HENRY VII [1497-1504 

tribal wars, but Kildare managed his country without 
appeaUng to the king. Henry reaped the reward 
of having put in authority a man who did not shirk 
responsibility. There is evidence that the king's 
influence and authority over the deputy remained 
untouched, and Kildare carried out his policy of 
extending Anglo-Irish influences and of depressing 
the natives. His work was made easier by the death 
of his old rival, Sir James Ormond, in July 1497 ; this 
brought the end of the feud. 

The king's policy of Anglicising Ireland was pushed 
on rapidly. Cork was visited and garrisoned by Kil- 
dare, and the citizens were forced to take the oath of 
allegiance to Henry. A Parliament held by Kildare 
in 1498, after punishing the Irish who had supported 
Perkin Warbeck, passed Acts discouraging the use 
of Irish weapons. Dwellers within the Pale were 
to wear English dress and use English weapons, the 
native darts and spears being forbidden.^ 

In 1503 Kildare again visited England at Henry's 
order. The king was evidently convinced that his 
authority over Kildare was too well established to 
require a hostage for his good faith, and he allowed 
the earl's eldest son Gerald, with his English wife, 
to return with him to Ireland. The wearisome story 
of the wars waged by Kildare in Ulster and Con- 
naught against a rebellious grandson can fortunately 
be omitted. The only point of importance is the 
increasing use of field artillery, which gave a great 
advantage to the troops of the deputy and made 
it easier to put down rebellion. In these wars 
Kildare's side was the English side, and his victories 
meant the further spread of English influence. In 
the battle of Knoctoe, 1504, the deputy opposed 

1 BagweU, op. cit., i. 118 ; Gilbert, Irish MSS., vol. iii. 



1504-9] THE RENAISSANCE 305 

to a wild Irish horde a small but. comparatively 
disciplined force in which the representatives of 
peaceful civilisation — churchmen and lawyers — ^were 
too niunerous for the tastes of many of his sup- 
porters.^ Kildare gained a signal victory — " The 
Irish durst not fight a battle never after with the 
English Pale," ^ we are told — and his good service 
was rewarded by Henry. Kildare became a Knight of 
the Garter and his son Lord Treasurer of Ireland. 
A few years later, in 1508, he held a Parliament which 
granted a subsidy,^ and at Henry's death his deputy's 
authority was unchallenged in the Anglo-Irish dis- 
trict, which he is credited with having greatly en- 
larged. According to the Irish chronicler, " Peace, 
golden peace, descended upon the country." Even 
Ireland, "the standing failure of English sovereigns, 
had been handled by Henry not wholly without 
success." * For the first time submission paid better 
than rebellion. The king had left his mark on Ireland. 

There is an obvious danger of exaggerating the 
influence of the Renaissance on contemporary England, 
of throwing back to its first beginnings our knowledge 
of its effect in its later stages. In the beginning it 
was destructive, not constructive. It put men out 
of conceit with their traditional studies, habits, and 
ideals, without at first giving them anything in their 
place. Intellectual chaos was added to social up- 
heaval without any one being consciously the gainer. 
There was an absolute revolt against medieval 
mysticism. The Papacy and Empire lost the support 

1 Boole of Hoiuth, pp. 181-5. Kildare's speech before the battle 
reminded his men that they fought for the honovir of their prince. 

2 Ibid. 

3 Irish Stat., 24 Hen. VII.; L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. App. 380. 
* Social Eng. (ed. Traill), ii. p. 613. 

U 



306 HENRY VII [U85-1509 

of uncritical reverence for their age-long claims to 
universal dominion. Viewed in the light of religious 
speculation, ecclesiastical sloth appeared more blatant, 
but found no cure. The effect on the choicer spirits 
of the age was disturbing, the effect on the mass of 
the people was practically nil. It was not until long 
after the death of Henry VII., that the results of 
the Renaissance on English society could be seen. 
Yet the first movements of the new spirit are none 
the less interesting for being obscure. 

From Italy, the Mecca of scholasticism, came the 
impulse for the emancipation of learning. Duke 
Humphrey of Gloucester, the princely patron of 
Italian scholars, the benefactor of university libraries, 
had been the pioneer of the new learning in England. 
He was followed by a band of churchmen and scholars 
who went abroad to vStudy the revived classical 
learning. Next came William Selling, and his 
disciples Linacre, Grocyn, Lily, and Latimer, who 
laid the foundations of the new learning in England. 
The beginning of the new reign and the first harvest 
of the Renaissance in England were almost simul- 
taneous. Linacre and Grocyn returned to England 
about 1490, and established the study of Greek at 
Oxford. A revival of learning and of activity at 
both the universities followed. New foundations 
became fashionable. The king's mother founded two 
colleges at Cambridge — St. John's and Christ's. The 
Bishop of Ely founded Jesus College ; the king 
himself gave large sums for the completion of King's 
College, founded by his pious uncle, and endowed 
scholarships in the university. At Oxford, Brazenose 
was founded by the Bishop of Lincoln, and Corpus 
Christi by the Bishop of Winchester. Grocyn was 
followed in his humanist study of the Scriptures by 



U85-1509] THE RENAISSANCE 307 

Colet, who is described by Vergil as distinguished by 
the virtue of his soul and mind and by the purity 
of his life and manners. He was honoured, he says, 
among the English almost like a second St. Paul the 
Apostle.^ Thus it is in this reign that theological 
criticism made the first breach in the wall of medieval 
theology through which poured all the changes of the 
Reformation. 

The critical spirit found a sphere of destructive 
action in the practice as well as in the theory of the 
Church. It was an age of great secularisation. From 
the bishops, Morton, Fox, and Warham, who were 
the king's ministers, down to the humblest monks 
in the abbey of St. Albans, there is evidence that the 
churchmen of the late fifteenth century were escaping 
from the restrictions of the contemplative life. There 
had been no religious movement in England since the 
days of Wycliff. Learning was dead in the Church ; 
the average churchman who had intellectual gifts 
employed them in the intricacies of a barren scholasti- 
cism, and the rank and file found an outlet for their 
energies in the ordinary pursuits of laymen. The 
ambitious man heaped up wealth ; bishoprics were 
sold, pluralities were common, and he found it easy 
to buy his steps upwards. Men whose ambition 
took another form joined in the scramble for land 
which is a feature of the early Tudor period. Parsons 
quarrelled with their parishioners, and lawsuits be- 
tween the great abbots and their lay neighbours 
were frequent. Churchmen won an unenviable 
notoriety by their high-handed methods of dealing 
with commons and wastes, enclosing lands for their 
parks. Like his neighbour the squire, the abbot 

1 Pol. Verg., op. cU., 618. He mentions Colet's foundation of 
St. Paul's School and the appointment of William Lily as master. 



308 HENRY VII [1483-1509 

occupied himself hunting and hawking, and rode 
abroad attended by troops of servants wearing his 
livery.^ The life of the average churchman was not 
worse, but it was not conspicuously better, than that 
of the laymen he mixed with. Many of the lower ranks 
of the clergy wasted their time and brought their calling 
into disrepute. The sermons preached by the friars at 
St. Paul's Cross attacked the clergy for wearing lay 
dress, carrying swords and daggers, and frequenting 
taverns, and drunkenness and brawling were common. 
The Convocation of Canterbury in 1486 had to deal 
with the matter openly.^ The language of the Act of 
1485, which gave the bishops power to commit clerks 
to prison for immorality, suggests the prevalence of 
grosser evils.* 

There was a constant complaint that church build- 
ings were allowed to fall into decay, that hospitality 
was neglected, that scholarship was dead, and that, 
owing to the decay of the universities, there were 
no longer any scholars to teach divinity or preach 
in cathedrals and monasteries. Venality spread like 
a canker through the Church. The popes, who sold 
bulls, benefices, indulgences, licences for non-residence 
— a crying scandal — and traded away their spiritual 
power for pence, found apt imitators on a smaller 
scale. Henry VII. rewarded his faithful ministers 
with bishoprics. He even thought of a bishopric for 
the rascally Spanish ambassador — and his nobles 
found Church preferment for their servants. Boys 
of ten or twelve who had obtained a master's degree 
after a year's study at Oxford or Cambridge became 
venerable archdeacons before they knew how to sing 
matins. " Benefices," writes Dudley in his Tree of the 

^ Star Chamber Gases, ed. Leadam (Selden Soc). 

2 Wilkins, Concilia, iii. 618, 619, 620. " Stat., ii. 500-1. 



U85-I609] THE RENAISSANCE 309 

Commonwealth, " are given not to the virtuous or the 
learned, but to such as can be good and profitable 
stewards of houses and clerks of your kitchens . . . 
and to such as can surely and wisely be receivers of 
your rents and revenues, and rather than fail will 
boldly distrain a poor man's cattle and drive them 
to pound till they starve from hunger." 

But the corruption of the Church attracted the 
notice of these Renaissance scholars. Colet and 
Erasmus poured out a flood of destructive criticism. 
The follies and self-seeking of the clergy came under 
the lash of biting irony that had not spared the 
occupants of St. Peter's chair. Dean Colet's sermons 
at St. Paul's were an outspoken attack against 
the corrupt lives of the clergy, and upon certain 
doctrines of the Church, which drew down upon 
him the censure of the Bishop of London. Colet 
was, however, saved from prosecution as a heretic 
by a powerful protector — Archbishop Warham. It 
was obvious that the new spirit was in the ascen- 
dant at Henry's court, and its ultimate triumph was 
foreshadowed. 

The new reforming spirit found another outlet in 
the visitation of the monasteries. Archbishop Morton 
had been one of the first Oxford scholars affected 
by Italian influences, and being impressed by the 
need for monastic reform, obtained from Pope Inno- 
cent a bull for a visitation. A terrible indictment 
was brought against the Abbey of St. Albans. Morton 
charged the abbot with having " laid aside the pleasant 
yoke of contemplation and all regular observances, 
hospitality, alms, and other offices of piety. . . The 
ancient rule of your order is deserted," he wrote, " not 
a few of your fellow monks giving themselves over to a 
reprobate life. . . ." He accused the abbot of having 



310 HENRY VII [1485-1609 

appointed as prioress of the neighbouring and depend- 
ent nunnery a woman who had already been married, 
and who hved in adultery with the monks. All the 
worst charges brought by anti-Catholics against the 
monastic system were made in the case of this monas- 
tery. The abbot was said to have sold the common 
property of the abbey, cut down and sold the woods, 
taken away the jewels, and so on; and the Arch- 
bishop's letter stated that " the brethren of the abbey 
live with harlots and mistresses publicly and continu- 
ously within the precincts of the monastery." ^ Similar 
scandals were revealed by the visitation of the diocese 
of Norwich. Incidental notices prove that similar 
disorders were rife up and down the country. The 
famous priory of Walsingham, which was much 
favoured by Henry VII., shared in the general de- 
moralisation. The Prior of Bath swaggered about 
followed by eighteen men wearing his livery, while 
his neglected church fell into ruin and decay. The 
Abbot of Malmesbury brutally ill-treated his depend- 
ents, the Prior of Sheen was foully murdered by 
one of his monks. Though serious vice was less 
common than secularisation, it was evident that the 
vital spirit of monasticism had fled.^ The rapidity 
with which the Reformation took root in England 
and the violence of the reaction against the faith 
of centuries are explained. 

As the Church let its high standard slip, its influence 
declined. It had lost its spiritual and intellectual 

'■ Wilkins, Concilia, iii. 632-4. There has been much discussion 
about the case of St. Albans. See Eng. Hist. Rev., xxii. 365-6, 
xxiv. 91-6, 319-21. 

^ Visitation of Norwich, Visitation of Southwell (Camden Soc, 1888, 
1890); Bath Ghartvl. (Somers See. Roc), Intro. Ixvii., Ixviii.; Star 
Chamber Gases (Selden Soc), Intro, xxii.; City Chron., 259. 



1485-1609] THE RENAISSANCE 311 

leadership, and England was ready for the seed sown 
by Renaissance scholars, the growth from which 
forced its way through the thickets of medieval 
scholasticism, and challenged the system of ecclesi- 
astical dominion that had made learning the monopoly 
of one class. 

But as usual in this reign of contrasts, old traditions 
flourished side by side with the new thought. While 
there might be toleration for new forms of inquiry, 
there was none for old forms of heresy. The 
Church that had abandoned her great ideals still 
claimed empire over the intellect. Heretics were 
ferreted out and set in the pillory, those who refused 
to recant being burnt at the stake. In 1494, a woman 
over eighty years of age was burnt at Smithfield for 
nine articles of heresy. In one case it appears that 
a priest convicted of heresy was converted by the 
exhortations of the king himself, " whereof his grace 
had great honour," but the stake still claimed its 
victim.^ In many other places, Canterbury, Norwich, 
and Salisbury, and at Amersham in Buckingham, 
Lollardry seems to have flourished. Thus fires were 
burning at Smithfield, a few hundred yards from 
the spot where Dean Colet's eloquence was stirring 
up a much more formidable revolt against Church 
doctrines. 

Thus the influence of the Renaissance had spread 
from Oxford to the Church. The new monarchy was 
to prove a powerful agent in spreading the new ideas 
among the nobles and gentry, and ultimately among 
the middle classes. The Italian influences at court 
were considerable. The king employed many Italians 

1 City Chron., 200, 208, 222, 226. A few heretics were pardoned 
on condition that, for the rest of their lives, they wore gowns em- 
broidered with a cross and a faggot in red. 



312 HENRY VII [148S-1509 

in his service. Giovanni Gigli, sent to England as 
a papal collector, became Henry's diplomatic agent 
at Rome, and was rewarded with the bishopric of 
Worcester. He it was who celebrated the king's 
marriage with Elizabeth of York in an elaborate 
Latin poem. Silvestro Gigli, his nephew, was Henry's 
Master of the Ceremonies, and later was resident 
ambassador at Rome, He was a man of letters, 
and corresponded with Erasmus. Peter Carmeliano, 
besides being Latin secretary and one of the king's 
chaplains, seems to have been a court poet as well. 
He was followed as Latin secretary by Ammonio 
and Peter Vannes, both of whom were Italians. 
Adrian de Castello, the collector of Peter's Pence 
in England, also passed into Henry's service, be- 
came his agent at Rome, and later ambassador to 
Alexander the Sixth. Of all the Italians employed 
by Henry VII., the most famous was the historian 
Polydor Vergil, who came to England in 1501 as 
sub-collector of Peter's Pence. He was taken into 
the king's favoiir, became Archdeacon of Wells, and 
resided at court. His famous Anglicce Histories Libri, 
a book which marks a very great advance in English 
historical work, being carried out on a large scale and 
in a critical spirit, was begun in Henry's lifetime 
and with his encouragement. 

It was design, not chance, which led Henry to 
employ all these Italians. He found they understood 
and sympathised with his aims, as his backward 
subjects could not do, and they had had a diplomatic 
training of a kind unknown in England. Meanwhile 
the king reproduced — on a very modest scale, it is 
true — the patronage of literature characteristic of the 
Italian princes. Those few of his own subjects who 
reached any eminence in literature enjoyed court 



1485-1S09] THE RENAISSANCE 313 

favour. The foremost of these was John Skelton, 
who wrote various poems on the royal children and 
became the tutor of Prince Henry, for whom he 
wrote the Speculum Principis, a treatise which is 
now lost. His courtly poems gave little promise of 
the satiric power which he displayed later, in the 
reign of his pupU. Henry was ready to encourage 
any talent that displayed itself. Bernard Andre 
was retained to sing the king's praises in pompous 
Latin, but his turgid rhetoric cannot be taken 
very seriously as literature. Distinguished men like 
Erasmus were welcomed at court. ^ The king spent 
considerable sums on buying books. He added a 
fair number of books to the royal library, paying as 
much as £25 to one Frenchman, and gave rewards to 
encourage the new art of printing. 

The education of the royal children represented the 
triumphs of Renaissance ideals of culture at Henry's 
court. Prince Henry — the young Octavius of England 
as he was called — ^was unusually accomplished. In 
his boyhood he was a type of the brUliant figures 
of the Renaissance period. He had great personal 
beauty, was extremely musical, a graceful dancer, 
a fme sportsman, no mean Latinist, and a very fair 
poet, without a touch of the intellectual torpor and 
lack of physical grace supposedly characteristic of 
the barbarous English. 

The magnificence of the first of the Tudors was 
displayed after Italian fashions. The king bought 
Italian furniture, sent to Italy for cloth of gold and 
damask. Gorgeous church vestments were made and 
embroidered for him in Florence. Even the royal 
tomb was entrusted to an Italian, Pietro Torregiano, 

^ Erasmus, however, was disappointed at not receiving more 
tangible proofs of royal favour. 



314 HENRY VII [U85-1509 

and its appearance in a chapel which is a masterpiece 
of Enghsh perpendicular work, is typical of the con- 
flict between medieval and Renaissance influences. 

The same influences also reached England through 
the king's diplomatic relations with Italian princes. 
Though there had been ofiicial communications on 
commercial matters between England and the State 
of Venice for a long time, the first formal embassy 
from Venice was sent to London in 1497. Henry 
was on very friendly terms with the Dukes of Milan, 
Ferrara, and Urbino. The last was honoured with 
the Order of the Garter. He occasionally exchanged 
presents with the King of England, Henry receiving 
on one occasion a painting by Raphael, which must 
have been one of the first examples of the ItaUan 
masters ever seen in England, where painting, except 
in the form of illuminations, was almost unknown. 

Henry VII. was the first English sovereign since 
Henry III. who cared in the slightest degree for art. 
With his reign the long barren period ended, and a 
new era began.i He is believed to have invited 
the Flemish artist Jan Grossaert or Mabuse to 
England, though the portrait often ascribed to him, 
which is said to be that of Henry's three children, 
is probably not by his hand. He certainly obtained 
the king's patronage, and several pictures of the 
Flemish school, notably the portraits of Lady Margaret 
and the " Marriage of Henry VII. with Elizabeth of 
York," were painted by Flemish artists in London 
during Henry's reign. 

But it is from his interest in building and architec- 
ture that Henry's ambition to be a patron of art is 
best realised. A beautiful palace arose at Richmond 
out of the ashes of the royal residence (itself built by 
1 Social England, ii. 680-3. 



U85-1509] THE RENAISSANCE 315 

Henry) at Sheen. New York was done at St. George's 
Chapel, Windsor, and Baynard's Castle was rebuilt. 
The noblest monument of all, the Chapel of Henry 
VII. at Westminster, which still holds the dust of 
the Tudor despots, is a glorious example of Gothic 
architecture, and its stately splendour is beyond all 
verbal tribute. 

The king's example was followed by his subjects ; 
from his ministers Bray and Morton down to the 
citizens of provincial towns like Bristol, every one of 
wealth and importance built largely and splendidly.^ 

Thus the light hitherto held by a small band of 
University men began to spread through England, 
and the motive power of this diffusion was the new 
monarchy. Henry VII. focussed the forces that 
during his reign transformed England from medie- 
valism to modernism. The despotism he established 
made the Crown the centre of society. His court 
became the spring of national activity, and gave 
a definite lead to society. The great princes of 
feudalism had been replaced by smaller men, above 
whom the king reigned in lonely splendour. The 
descendant of the feudal baron left his isolated castle 
to enter the king's service. The social influences 
radiating from the king's court reached the provinces, 
and the households of the nobles employed about the 
king echoed the ideas of the court. 

" From the prince," wrote Sir Thomas More, " as 
from a perpetual well-spring cometh among the 
people the flood of all that is good or evil." ^ 
Henry VII. was the source of power, the creator of 
employment, the dispenser of office. The comt led 
as a stepping stone to the great careers of arms, 

1 City Chron., pp. 226, 234 ; Social England, ii. 637-8, 676-8. 
' More, Utopia (ed. Lumby), 25. 



316 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

diplomacy, and administrative employment ; and thus 
Italian influences at court found an ever widening 
sphere of influence. Even those who had no special 
leanings to scholarship, found the very fabric of 
their lives, their habits, customs, tastes and occupa- 
tions, the houses they lived in, and the clothes they 
wore, being imperceptibly but permanently changed by 
the influence of new ideas imported from the Continent. 

In addition to the direct influence and imitation of 
the court, another force led to the spread of a liberal 
education. Posts in the king's service were thrown 
open to men of the class hitherto shut out by birth 
from any hope of official employment. Diplomatic 
posts hitherto monopolised by foreigners were given 
by Henry to his subjects, and foreign diplomacy 
became more important during Henry's reign than 
it had ever been before. Permanent embassies 
brought England more closely in touch with the 
Continent, and afforded opportunity of distinction 
to the ambitious. Stile, Savage, Wingfield, and 
above all Wolsey, were the front rank in the army 
of English diplomatists who have represented their 
country in the courts of Europe ever since, acting as a 
centre of cosmopolitan influences on their return.* 

It is no inconsiderable change that the statecraft of 
the new monarchy brought about. Military skill was 
no longer the only vital part of a gentleman's training ; 
if he was to succeed, he must be educated as well. 
The standard had been exceptionally low. The 

1 Erasmus found England much less insular than might have 
been expected ; foreign influences were strong, and there was a thirst 
for knowledge like that on the Continent. Froude suggests that the 
Englishman of the reign of Henry VII. was more in touch with the 
feeling of the Continent than he is at the present day. Men of 
birth spoke one universal language, and the barrier of religious 
diHerences had not arisen. 



U85-1509] VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY 317 

average nobleman read little, wrote indifferently, and 
spelt vilely ; ^ even a merchant carrying on a con- 
siderable business could only just make himself 
intelligible ; ^ the mass of the country gentry could 
neither read nor write. By throwing open a career 
to men of talent, Henry set on foot a movement, 
which by the reign of Elizabeth had filled England 
with the " Italianate Englishman," and had given 
even the naiddle classes some interest in literature. 

Another great influence for popularising learning 
had been introduced eight years before the accession 
of Henry VII. Caxton had set up his printing-press 
in Westminster, and by the date of his death (1491), 
about 95 books had been printed. Caxton was 
followed by Wynkyn de Worde, and between 1477 
and 1500 about 400 books were printed in England.^ 
The introduction of printing, though it had little 
influence at the time, is important of course as 
perhaps one of the strongest forces that has ever 
moulded the mind of the nation. 

The reign of Henry VII. saw the beginning of 
mighty changes. The critical spirit was thrusting 
itself into all the dark places of medieval thought, 
questioning the foundations of accepted beliefs. 
Under this new influence medieval priestcraft and king- 
craft gave way to a new theology and a new monarchy. 
Feudalism and manorialism were replaced by the 
new divisions of capital and labour, and from the decay 
of communism sprang the triumph of individualism. 

The voyages of discovery that took place in the 
reign of Henry VII. are interesting rather as the 
first chapter in the story of maritime adventure 

1 The Earl of SuHolk's letters are an example of this. 

2 Cdy Papers. ' Social Englcmd, ii. 726, 732. 



318 HENRY VII [1493 

which carried the English trade and flag all over the 
world than for their intrinsic importance. Great 
daring and enterprise met with little practical result. 
It has often been said that Henry discouraged the 
adventurers, and, by his short-sighted greed, let slip a 
golden opportunity. But this seems to be a deduction 
from the theory of the conduct that could be expected 
from a man of avaricious temper rather than to be 
founded on fact. Henry certainly missed his first 
chance. He lacked imagination, and, sated with 
adventures in his youth, was disinclined to embark 
in speculation ; but the Spanish success was a turning- 
point, and all the evidence goes to prove that he 
helped the later attempts generously as long as they 
had any reasonable prospect of success. Their failure 
was due, not to the king's apathy, but to the chimera 
of the North-west Passage. 

When Bartholomew Columbus appeared at the 
English court to try and enlist the king's sympathy for 
his brother's schemes, Henry had only been a few years 
on the throne, and all his resources were taxed by 
his difficult position. The idea of trying to find a 
new trade route to the East was sufficiently attractive 
for the king to promise help in an indefinite way. 
But Henry's pre-occupations spelt delay, and in the 
meantime Christopher Columbus convinced Ferdinand, 
made his great voyage, and discovered the New World 
for the King of Spain. Henry learnt the result of 
Columbus's voyage in 1493, and from that moment 
his attitude changed ; he had found out that the 

^ The question as to how far Henry had committed himself to 
Bartholomew Columbus is a difi&cult one. It is discussed by Dr. 
Busch (p. 360), who comes to the conclusion that the king probably 
promised help. The main point, however, that Henry's promise 
came too late, is indisputable. 



1498-6] VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY 319 

visionary scheme had resulted in profit to his rival, 
the King of Spain. 

Meanwhile Henry's own subjects had taken up the 
idea of finding a new route to the East. Trade with 
India had been cut off by the conquests of the Turks, 
and Englishmen were fired with the hope of dis- 
covering a North-west Passage, which would bring 
them again into touch with the riches of the East. 
It was this will-of-the-wisp which led the English 
adventurers to waste their strength in vain on the 
inhospitable shores of North-East America. 

Brazil, the fabled isle of gold and spices, was another 
goal of their hopes. Bristol was the centre of the 
maritime spirit. If we reject as doubtful the story 
that Christopher Columbus sailed from Bristol to the 
North-west in 1477, we are on firm ground with the 
voyage of Thomas Lloyd from the same city in 1480, 
in search of Brazil. Ayala, writing in 1498, said, " The 
people of Bristol have for the last six or seven years 
sent out every year, two, three, or four light ships 
in search of the island of Brazil and the seven cities." ^ 
The moving spirit in these adventures was John 
Cabot, a Genoese, who was therefore a man of some 
experience when he applied to Henry for help in 1495.^ 
Henry was by this time aware of the importance of 
the Spanish discovery,^ and gave Cabot a much more 
encouraging reception than Columbus. On March 5, 
1496, the king issued letters patent to his well-beloved 
John Cabot, citizen of Venice, and his sons, giving him 

^ Berg., Spanish Gal., i. p. 177. 

^ Ibid., p. 89. The King of Spain wished his ambassador to 
dissuade Henry from these " uncertain enterprises," which " could 
not be executed without prejudice to them and the King of 
Portugal." 

' Excerpta Hist., p. 92, contains a notice of the reception of a 
Spaniard who gave the king a present of spices. 



320 HENRY VII [U97 

power and authority to sail east, west, and north, 
with five ships under the royal standards and the 
flag of England, to discover any islands or territories 
hitherto unknown to Christendom. He was em- 
powered in the king's name to take possession of and 
subdue any country he found, and rule it and its castles, 
towns, and villages, as Henry's " vassal and governor, 
locum tenens, and deputy." All this the Cabot 
family were to do at their own expense. The profits 
they might retain for themselves with the exception 
of one-fifth, which was to be paid to the king, who 
graciously exempted them from customs duties on 
any merchandise they might bring back with them 
from the newly discovered lands.^ Henry, however, 
was rather more generous than the terms of the 
letters patent suggest, and, " at the besy request 
and supplicacion of Cabot," he manned and pro- 
visioned one ship in the expedition,^ which sailed 
from Bristol in May 1497.* The results, however, 
did not come up to the sanguine hopes of the voyagers. 
On 24th June, they touched the mainland of North 
America, probably on the coasts of Labrador. On 
these frozen shores they discovered no " castles, 
cities, or villages " to be occupied in the king's name, 
nor did they return rich with gold and spices. They 
sailed first south and then north-west without coming 
across any trace of human occupation except snares set 
to catch game and a needle for making nets. They 
were able to report, however, the existence of rich 
fishing grounds which woiild make England inde- 

^ The patent is printed in full, Rymer, Fcedera, xii. 596-6. 

' This is founded on a statement in the City Chronicle, p. 224. 

' The date of this voyage was formerly in dispute, 1494 being 
assigned to it by some writers, but the correct date 1497 has long 
been ascertained. Harrisse, Jean et Sebastien GaJiot, 52—60 ; Biddle, 
Memoir of Sebastian Cabot, 71-9 ; Busch., op. cit., p. 361. 



1498] VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY 321 

pendent of Iceland. ^ The reward of £10 paid on 
10th August " to hyme that founde the new Isle " is 
not the measure of Henry's satisfaction, for Cabot 
received a grant of £20 a year to be paid from the 
customs of Bristol.^ Cabot was styled the " Great 
Admiral." He was the man of the hour. " These 
English run after him like mad people," was the 
comment of a Venetian visitor. 

Preparations were now made for an adventure on 
a much larger scale, which roused Ayala to protest 
to Henry that the land he was in search of was 
already in the possession of the King of Spain, " But 
though I gave him my reasons," he wrote, "he 
did not like them." ^ Ayala and Puebla speak of 
the whole expedition as equipped by Henry, and 
recent research has supported this view.* The king 
realised that great issues were at stake, and proved 
it by giving his support during these very critical 
years. 

Cabot's second expedition of five ships sailed in 
the spring of 1498, with the object of revisiting the 
recently discovered land, and attempting to open up 

1 Harrisse, op. cit. 

" Excerpta Historica, p. 113; Pat., Dec, 1497. 

= Berg., Spanish Cat, i. p. 177. 

* Busch, p. 361 ; Excerpta Hist., 116, 117 ; Stow, Annales, 482 ; 
Berg., 177 ; Harrisse quoting Puebla, pp. 328-9 ; Brown, No. 750. 
Harrisse, op. cit. (p. 102), Cunningham, op. cit. (pp. 419, 444), and 
Thorold Rogers, Hist, of Agriculture, iv., Pref. ix., xii., take the view 
that Henry gave little help, " which view," says Dr. Busch, " really 
has nothing in its favour except its antiquity." Busch, p. 361. 
Harrisse's words are a. frank acknowledgment of his reason for 
rejecting the evidence of Puebla, Ayala, and the City Chronicle : 
" Aussi ne croyons-nous pas, malgr^ I'expression employee par 
Puebla et Ayala, que les cinq navires furent expedies aux frais de 
Henry VII., dont I'avarice 6tait notoire." The tradition of Henry's 
blind avarice has grown into a myth which some writers prefer to 
any evidence they may find contradicting it. 

X 



322 HENRY VII [1501 

trade with it.^ John Cabot seems to have died during 
the voyage, and one ship damaged by storm had to 
put back into an Irish port. The voyage cannot have 
been a great success. No reference to the adventurers' 
return has been found, though we know that the 
squadron was expected back in September 1498, 
and that Sebastian Cabot returned in safety. He is 
never heard of again, however, in Henry's employment.^ 
The king had lost interest in voyages of discovery; 
the results of his attempts to share with Spain the 
riches of the New World had been disappointing. 
He gave no support to the subsequent voyages 
made by Bristol citizens,^ which all being directed 
to the north-west failed to find the " Spice Islands." 
They opened up the Newfoundland fishery, however, 
and this attracted the king's notice. In 1501 he 
granted a patent to three Portuguese merchants 
residing in Bristol to sail on voyages of discovery 
under the royal flag.* The language of the patent 
suggests a revival of the king's hopes. They were 
empowered to take possession of any land they found, 
to carry English subjects to settle there, to govern 
the new lands, appointing deputies to govern towns 
and cities, and make and execute laws. The patentees 
were to enjoy the office of King's Admiral, were to 
have exclusive rights of trading for ten years, and of 
importing gold, silver, and precious stones. Further, 
they were empowered to punish any one who visited 

1 The letters patent authorising the expedition were dated 
Feb. 3, 1498. They have been printed by Biddle, Mem. of S. Cabot, 
pp. 76-7, and by Harrisse, pp. 327-8. 

^ There is a period in Cabot's life of which practically nothing is 
known. Biddle, op. cit., pp. 91-3. 

^ It is curious that none of these voyages are referred to in Rioart's 
Calendar, ed. L. Touhnin Smith. 

* 19th March 1501 ; printed by Biddle, App. 312-20. 



1502] VOYAGES OF DISCOVERY 323 

the new land without permission. This expedition 
must have reached America or Newfoundland, for 
in the following year there were in London three 
men found by the Bristol merchants in an " Hand 
ferre beyonde Irelond ; the which were clothid in 
Beestes Skynnes, and ete Raw fflessh, and Rude in 
their demeanure as Beestes." ^ Their wildness, how- 
ever must have yielded to the civilising influences of 
fifteenth-century London with some rapidity, for two 
years later two of them, who were kept by Henry 
at Westminster, were "clothed like Englishmen and 
could not be discerned from Englishmen." ^ In 
September 1502, the Bristol merchants " that have 
bene in the New founde Launde " were granted £20 
from the king's privy purse.^ Some members of the 
expedition obtained another patent in December 
1502, similar to the first, but with an extension of the 
time of exclusive trading to forty years, and the 
voyages continued till the end of the reign. 

As we have seen, they were only partially success- 
ful. In spirit and object they were worthy of the 
voyages of the Elizabethan period ; they hoped to 
plant English settlers beyond the sea,* and acquire 
new land for the English Crown, but the contrast of 
actual achievement with these high hopes is pathetic. 
The explorers found no territory suitable for commerce 
or colonisation, though the fact that such a develop- 
ment was contemplated is very interesting. A few 
rare animals, Newfoundland hawks, " wild cattes," 
and " popyngays " presented to the king, and the 

1 City Chron., p. 258. ^ Stow, Annales, p. 485. 

' Excerpta Hiatorica, 129. In January of this year " the men 
who found Thisle " had received £5. Ibid., p. 126. 

* Priests sailed in the ships that the Christian faith might follow 
the English flag. 



324 HENRY VII [1502-9 

unhappy " wilde men " who dragged out their exist- 
ence in Westminster, these were the only tangible 
results of the voyages of the reign. They had, 
however, a certain importance. To have reached 
the mainland of America before Columbus was no 
slight achievement. The experience learnt from the 
disappointments of these early voyages made the 
deeds of the Elizabethan seamen possible. John 
and Sebastian Cabot were the pioneers of a great 
host of mariners who led England to find her destiny 
on the seas and to found the first among " all the 
British dominions beyond the seas." 

It is easy to undervalue the effect of these early 
voyages upon the thought as well as upon the practice 
of the succeeding generation of Englishmen. Added 
to the revelations of the scientists, they annihilated 
men's preconceived ideas of the universe. Astrono- 
mers and geographers taught that the earth " far from 
being the centre of the universe was itself swept 
round in the motion of one of the least of its countless 
systems." ^ Much that men had believed to be true 
was proved to be false. The cloud that from the 
beginning of things had hung thick and dark round 
the borders of civilisation was suddenly lifted. 

1 Bryce, Holy Roman Empire, p. 313 ; c/. Froude, Short Studies, 
i. 404. 



CHAPTER IX 

LAST YEARS : 1503-1509 

At the end of 1503 Henry felt at last secxire. " The 
king's estate was very prosperous ; secured by the 
amity of Scotland, strengthened by that of Spain, 
cherished by that of Burgundy ; all domestic troubles 
quenched, and all noise of war (like a thunder afar 
oft) going upon Italy." ^ Henceforward the story of 
the king's reign loses dramatic interest. The struggle 
for the throne was over. England was safe and 
groAving in prosperity; the House of Tudor was 
despotic in England, and a power abroad. Meaner 
ambitions filled the king's last years. The history of 
the reign is no longer filled with " roughe and sharpe 
battailes, pernicious seditions, strife, tumulte, and 
the deathe of many noble and meane persons," but 
with " the contencion of familiar thinges, the gnawinge 
at the hartes and the freatinge of myndes and vowes " ^ 
— ^in short, with all the intricate manoeuvres of a rest- 
less and elaborate diplomacy. 

In the beginning of 1504 Henry's fifth Parliament 
met. It was probably summoned by Henry in order 
to strengthen his hand in dealing with Suffolk. On 
January 25 it was opened by a speech from Arch- 
bishop Warham, who had followed Morton as Chan- 
cellor. Acts of attainder were passed against Suffolk 
and his friends, and the measure by which concessions 
were made to the Hanse merchants * was probably 

^ Bacon, op. cit., p. 217. ^ HaU, Chronicle, p. 499. 

^ See above, p. 176. 



326 HENRY VII [1504 

designed to procure Suffolk's surrender. Though the 
Act had no very important consequences, being 
ignored as soon as Suffolk's departure from Aix in 
April 1504 made the alliance of the Hanse merchants 
useless, it is a striking proof that Henry anticipated 
grave danger from the earl's manoeuvres. 

The exile's recent adventures made the king uneasy. 
He had remained a long time at Aix, eating his heart 
out in inactivity, overwhelmed by debt, and harassed 
by his creditors. Maximilian only gave him just 
enough help to keep his head above water. Early 
in 1504 there was a change in his position. Attracted 
by the specious promises of Duke George of Saxony, 
who hoped to use the exile in negotiating an alliance 
with Henry, Suffolk fled from Aix in April 1504, 
leaving his brother Richard behind him as a hostage 
for the payment of his debts. Misfortune still pursued 
him. On his way through Gueldres with a safe 
conduct he was seized by Duke Charles of Gueldres 
and kept in close confinement in Hatten.i Duke 
Charles was at this time struggling to throw off the 
overlordship of the Duke of Burgundy, and, like the 
Duke of Saxony, he hoped that the possession of 
Suffolk might win him the English alliance. Henry 
was certainly desperately anxious to get hold of 
Suffolk. In the light of after events, it appears that 
the king overrated the danger, but he was no prophet, 
and the head of Perkin Warbeck, who had shaken 
his throne, still mouldered on London Bridge. In 
the autumn of 1504 there were rumours that Henry 
intended to pay the Duke of Gueldres a large sum 
for Suffolk's surrender, and he urged that Spanish 

1 On this subject see Dr. Busch, op. cit., p. 368, note 9, referring 
to extracts from the Dresden State Archives; also L. and P. 
Hen. VII., i. 260-2. 



1503] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 827 

influence should be used to obtain it, " thus enabhng 
him to make an example of him to his kingdom." 
Henry's relations with Philip were becoming difficult. 
Philip was annoyed at the suggestion that Henry should 
pay the Duke of Gueldres for Suffolk's surrender, as 
he knew the money would be used against him. New 
duties had been imposed by Philip upon English mer- 
chants.i Henry retaliated, and there was bitter feeling 
on both sides. Suffolk meanwhile remained at Hatten. 

Meanwhile negotiations for the Spanish marriage 
were dragging on as usual. In April 1503, a horrible 
rumour had reached Isabella, that a marriage between 
the king and his daughter-in-law had been mentioned 
in England. Isabella expressed her disgust in round 
terms. " It would be a very evil thing," she wrote, 
" the mere mention of which offends the ear ; we would 
not for anything in the world that it should take 
place. Speak of it as a thing not to be endured." 
The report originated with the garrulous de Puebla, 
and seems to have been founded on gossip alone, 
and even then his story was that a marriage be- 
tween Henry and Katherine was much " talked of in 
England," not that Henry contemplated such a step.^ 
One historian, however, accepts de Puebla's words as 
a proof that Henry contemplated marrying Katherine, 
and uses some strong words about the " monstrous 
proposal — an outrage upon nature." In the absence of 
any confirmatory evidence, and in view of de Puebla's 
spiteful knack of making baseless charges, Henry's 
innocence of this intention can be presumed.^ 

Katherine's position in England waiting for the 
delayed betrothal was not very dignified. Isabella was 

' This is a difficult point which has already been discussed. See 
above, p. 169. ^ Berg., Spanish Gal., p. 295. 

3 Qairdner, Henry VII., p. 190 ; Busch, op. cit., pp. 207, 378. 



328 HENRY VII [1503 

anxious to extricate her from it. The preparations 
for her departure — a feint before — were to be pushed 
on in earnest.^ Isabella also rather quaintly proposed 
to dispose of Henry's rumoured intentions with regard 
to Katherine by suggesting another lady as the object 
of his attentions in the person of her niece the Queen 
of Naples. By the summer the difficulties had been 
adjusted for the moment, and a marriage treaty, 
already drafted in September 1502, was ratified by 
Henry (June 23, 1503).2 

Ferdinand, Isabella, and Henry bound themselves 
to use their influence at the court of Rome to obtain 
a papal dispensation for the marriage between Henry 
and Katherine, who had become related in the first 
degree of affinity through the previous marriage 
between the latter and the late Prince Arthur. The 
question as to the consummation of the marriage, 
now raised for the first time, derives considerable 
importance from later events. The inquiries made by 
Ferdinand and Isabella in England led them to 
believe that the marriage had not been consummated, 
and Ferdinand announced this to his ambassador in 
Rome, explaining, however, that the terms of dis- 
pensation must be made to cover the possibility of 
an actual union having taken place, in order to avoid 
any objection on the part of the English, " who are 
much disposed to cavil." * The other provisions 

' Isabella, however, condemned Henry's attempt to keep the 
dowry in round terms as a " barbarous and dishonest proposal, 
not consonant with reason or with right human or divine." The 
opinion of the lawyers she consulted on the point was much more 
guarded, though on the whole favourable to her point of view. See 
Berg., Spanish Cal., pp. 304, 305. 

2 Rymer, xiii. 76-86 ; Berg., Spanish Cal, pp. 306-8. 

' Dr. Busch discusses the whole question of the various papal 
buUs and briefs, with their bearing on the divorce proceedings. 
Op. cit., pp. 376-8. 



1604] LAST YEARS : 1503-1509 329 

followed the precedent of the treaty for the marriage 
of Katherine and Arthur, the instalments of the 
dowry already received being taken in part payment 
of the dowry due for the second marriage.^ The 
betrothal ceremony followed two days later. The 
treaty was confirmed by Ferdinand and Isabella in 
September, and by Henry in the following March.^ 

Ferdinand's formal ratification contains eulogistic 
words about Henry : " He possesses all and every 
virtue of a great king ; his faithfulness especially is 
so great that he would prefer to die rather than break 
his word." His private letters to his ambassador 
show that he was genuinely pleased at the treaty, 
and, though he thought its terms rather unfavourable 
to Spain, the value of the English alliance outweighed 
these disadvantages. The King of France had made 
an attack upon Rousillon, and Ferdinand hoped that 
Henry would help him in accordance with the treaty. 
He appealed for 2000 English infantry, and revived 
the old lure of the conquest of Guienne and Normandy. 
Isabella's letters breathe the same spirit of satisfac- 
tion. She spoke of the great love she had always 
borne Henry, and urged her ambassador to spread 
abroad reports that Henry was going to send a 
considerable body of troops to Spain, " because as 
you will see such tidings and rumours will inspire 
France, and will produce a favourable impression in 
Italy." Henry's letters of the same date are very 
different in tone. 

At the risk of labouring the point unduly, the 
complete change in the relative positions of England 
and Spain must be noticed. The situation from 1485 

1 On the same 23rd June a commercial treaty was signed, for which 
see above, p. 182. 

2 Berg., Spamish Cci., Nos. 372-8, 380. Rymer, xiii. 76-9. 



330 HENRY VII [1503 

to 1497 is reversed, and in 1503 it is the prestige of 
the EngUsh aUiance that is considered worth some 
sacrifice by Ferdinand and Isabella. It becomes the 
normal thing for them vehemently to urge Henry to 
assist them, and for the latter to adopt an attitude 
of irritating indifference. Many of the delays were 
deliberately introduced by Henry. The key to his 
difficult policy in this matter was his desire not to 
lose his strong position. As long as the marriage was 
put off and Katherine remained dependent upon him, 
he had the whip hand of Ferdinand and Isabella. 

There was considerable delay in obtaining the papal 
dispensation. For this Henry was not responsible. 
Two Popes, Alexander VI. and Pius III., had died in 
rapid succession, and on 1st November 1503 Julius II. 
had been installed as Pope. Time went on, and in 
spite of the urgent representations of the Spanish 
ambassador, the dispensation was still delayed. The 
new Pope consented to send an informal brief to com- 
fort the dying Queen of Spain in her last days, but the 
formal bull was still withheld. He excused himself 
to Henry, who with flattering haste had despatched 
an embassy to congratulate him on his elevation, and 
give him his " filial and Catholic homage," on the plea 
that the case needed full investigation. ^ 

It is a mistake to suppose that Prince Arthur's 
death was the end of Katherine's brief happiness, 
and that henceforward she was made miserable by 
Henry's cruelty. The exact opposite was the case 
for some years. Henry continued to treat Katherine 
in the spirit of his promise to her parents. In July 
he was providing money for her household at the 
rate of £100 per month, and ordering that if any 

» Berg., Spanish Cat, i. pp. 309, 314, 326, 328, 330 ; L. and P., 
ii. 112-125. See Busch, op. cit., p. 376, note 3. 



1504] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 331 

surplus remained it was to be given to the princess 
to spend as she hked. A little later, when Katherine 
had an attack of ague, Henry took her with him to 
Richmond and then spent a fortnight with her, at 
Windsor, " hunting deer in the forest nearly every 
day." When she had another and more serious attack, 
Henry wrote a very affectionate letter to her from 
Sheppy Island, asking anxiously for news of her, 
assuring her that he loved her as his own daughter, 
and was ready to do anything for her that might 
give her some pleasure. 

The Spanish ambassador Estrada wrote telling 
Ferdinand and Isabella of Henry's kindness to 
Katherine. In the same letter he gives an interesting 
reference to the king's method of training his heir. 
"It is quite wonderful how much the king likes 
the Prince of Wales. He has good reason to do so, 
for the prince deserves all love. But it is not only 
from love that the king takes the prince with him ; 
he wishes to improve him. Certainly there could be 
no school in the world better than the society of such 
a father as Henry VII. He is so wise and attentive 
to everything, nothing escapes his attention. ... If 
he lives ten years longer, he will leave the prince 
furnished with good habits, and with inunense riches, 
and in as happy circumstances as man can be." ^ 

A little later Katherine wrote asking Henry to settle 
the quarrels between various members of her house- 
hold ; but he excused himself from the task, saying 
that, as Spanish subjects, they were not under his 
jurisdiction. Yet in spite of this disclaimer, he 
secretly settled the matter, Donna Elvira's control 
over the household being confirmed. The king was 
anxious that Katherine should not know of the part 

I Berg., Spanish Cal., pp. 329, 330, 331-5, 338. 



332 HENRY VII [1504 

he had taken in it ; " he did not wish to cause dis- 
satisfaction to the princess in anything." Donna 
Elvira was the proud recipient of a present from the 
king — a St. Peter in gold to be used in a head-dress — 
a special mark of favour hitherto given by Henry 
only to royal ladies. Every scrap of evidence that 
remains proves that Henry was kind and considerate 
to Katherine. De Puebla's gossiping letters give a 
vivid picture of the king's attitude at this date. 
The question of his marriage was again brought 
up. Henry professed that he had not made up his 
mind to take another wife, but he asked "such very 
particular questions " about the Queen of Naples, 
that de Puebla wrote requesting that a picture of the 
said Queen, " portraying her figure and the features 
of her face, should be made as quickly as possible and 
sent over to England." ^ 

The king and his council seemed pleased at the 
suggestion of the marriage with the Queen of Naples, 
and de Puebla wrote : " He lauded your highnesses 
above the cherubim." Henry, however, declared he 
was not going further without obtaining more parti- 
culars about his proposed bride, " for your Highnesses 
must know," wrote de Puebla, " that if she were 
ugly and not beautiful, the King of England would not 
have her for all the treasures in the world, nor would 
he dare to take her, the English thinking so much 
as they do about personal appearance." Henry was 
anxious to send an embassy to Valencia to make a 
personal report on the lady, De Puebla opposed this, 
explaining his action when writing to Ferdinand thus, 
" I have never seen an ambassador who has gone hence 
to Spain, and who has not come back disgusted with 
the country, owing to the inconvenience of travelling, 

1 Berg., Spanish Cal., pp. 303, 324, 327, 333-4, 338. 



1504] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 333 

which in England is hke going from one wedding 
to another." 

The air was full of marriage rumours. Heiiry had 
begun to think about another possible bride, the 
recently widowed Duchess of Savoy. A match be- 
tween the Princess Mary and the eldest son of the 
Archduke Philip had been proposed, and — ^what was 
very disquieting to Ferdinand and Isabella — a French 
ambassador had been sent to England to propose a 
marriage between the Prince of Wales and Margaret of 
Angouleme.^ All this made Ferdinand very uneasy, 
and he surpassed himself in attempts to gain from 
Henry the closer alliance to which he was unwilling to 
commit himself. A letter of his dated November 24, 
1504, just after Estrada returned to Spain, abounds 
with flattering expressions of his regard for Henry.^ 
He enclosed a copy of the papal dispensation, and 
a decree allowing English ships the same rights and 
privileges of freighting in Spanish ports as Spanish 
ships, this concession being made " on account of the 
very great love and the bond of indissoluble alliance 
and friendship which exists between us." ^ Two days 
later Ferdinand's whole position had been changed. 

On November 26, 1504, on the very day that her 
daughter Katherine was writing an anxious letter 
saying that she could not be satisfied or cheerful 
until she heard from her mother, Isabella of Castile 
died. The effect of her death illustrates Bacon's 
description of her as " the corner-stone of the greatness 
of Spain that hath followed." It brought another 

1 lUd., Nos. 427, 460, 467-8 ; L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 125-46, 
340-62. 

2 L. tmd P. Hen. VII., i. 241-3. 

^ In the following spring Henry issued orders to the same effect. 
Berg., Spanish Cat, Nos. 438, 439, 442 ; Rymer, xii. 114-16. 



334 HENRY VII [1604 

change in the shifting quicksands of European politics. 
Henceforward Ferdinand and his son-in-law Philip 
struggled for the possession of Castile, which, as 
it passed by descent to Isabella's daughter Juana, 
Philip claimed to rule in her right. He took the 
title of King of Castile, and prepared to set out with 
Juana for their kingdom. Ferdinand, however, under 
the terms of Isabella's will, had been appointed regent 
during Juana's absence, and he hoped to retain the 
chief authority there. 

The threatened separation of Castile and Aragon 
had a considerable effect on the tortuous policy of 
Henry's later years. He gradually drifted away 
from the alliance with Spain, which had been the 
keynote of his former diplomacy. Ferdinand was 
now a much weaker ally, and there were ominous 
signs of a coalition against him. Henry had no wish 
to find himself " left to the poor amity of Aragon," 
and feared that "whereas he had been heretofore a 
kind of arbiter of Europe, he should now go less and 
be overtopped by so great a conjunction." ^ Henry 
had never really trusted Ferdinand ; they had known 
each other too well for mutual confidence, but since 
the marriage of Katherine and Arthur their diplo- 
matic relations had been marked by great surface 
cordiality. From the date of Isabella's death this 
disappears, and Henry's attitude to Ferdinand varies 
with the security of the latter's hold upon Aragon. 
Their altered relations reacted in a very unfortunate 
way on the position of the Princess Katherine. 
Henry's mind was filled with much more glittering 
schemes, and she had become the pledge of an alliance 
that had ceased to attract. She became a pawn in 
the very ugly game played by Henry and Ferdi- 
1 Bacon, op. cit., p. 226. 



iao4-5] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 335 

nand, and her happiness was sacrificed to their 
knavish intrigues. The removal of Isabella's per- 
sonal influence over Ferdinand had almost as bad 
an effect on Katherine's position as the material loss 
of the kingdom she had ruled. Ferdinand, who 
seems to have cared little for his children, added to 
his daughter's difficulties by withholding the later 
instalments of the marriage portion, and by leaving 
her without money. Neither of the kings wished to 
undertake to provide for her. Henry would acknow- 
ledge no responsibility for her support as long as the 
marriage portion was withheld. She was between 
the upper and the nether millstones. Kindness, 
however, prompted Henry to go beyond his denial 
of legal obligation, and he provided for the prin- 
cess's necessities to some extent. A man of more 
generous temper would, no doubt, have done this 
without haggling about the marriage portion. But 
Henry was not a man of generous temper, and 
Katherine's necessities became a lever to extort 
from Ferdinand the later instalments to which he 
was bound. 

For some time after Isabella's death both the 
competitors for Castile were bidding for Henry's 
friendship, and he hoped to gain Philip's friendship 
without abandoning the alliance with Ferdinand. He 
was still thinking of the bride proposed for him by 
Ferdinand and Isabella. In the summer of 1505 
Henry's envoys, John Stile and two others, were in 
Spain visiting Valencia to report on the lady's charms. 
The " curious and exquisite enquiries " they were 
directed to make remain on record,^ and their answers 
suggest that they were impressed with the serious 
nature of their embassy and quite devoid of any sense 
1 Memorials, pp. 223-239. 



336 HENRY VII [1605 

of humour. Henry's minute inquiries they answered 
with equal minuteness. With scrupulous honesty 
they refrained from crediting the royal lady with 
any charms which had not been revealed to their 
inquiring eyes. They would not commit them- 
selves to any opinion as to her height, because she 
sat on a cushion, and because of the height of her 
slippers. Their report, which reads like a police 
description, stated that she was not painted but had 
a very fair and clear skin, a somewhat round and 
fat face, " the countenance cheerful not frowning, 
and steadfast not light." The envoys felt justified 
in assuming, from the ends of the queen's hair that 
were to be seen under her kerchief, that the rest 
was brown in colour. Her eyes were " brown, some- 
what greyish, her nose arched in the middle. . . . 
She is much like nosed unto the queen her mother." 
The king's long list of questions left nothing uncata- 
logued — ^forehead, lips, teeth, arms, hands, neck, 
fingers, and so on. Henry was told how much she 
ate and what she drank, that she understood French 
and Latin, but could not speak either language, and 
that she was not known to have any personal blemish 
or deformity. A carefiil picture was to be painted 
by a competent artist, and if the painter found that 
he had omitted " any feature or circumstance " of 
the lady's visage, he was to alter the picture to a 
perfect likeness. It is interesting to notice that 
Henry, in spite of his reputation for austerity and 
avarice, drew up twenty -three questions dealing 
with the lady's personal charms, and only one as 
to her worldly possessions. The answer to the last 
cannot have been considered very satisfactory. The 
jointures of the queen and her mother in the king- 
dom of Naples had been confiscated, and they were 



1606] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 337 

dependent upon an allowance of fifteen or sixteen 
thousand ducats made to them by Ferdinand. 

The same ambassadors who made this confidential 
report were directed to go on to Ferdinand's court 
and make careful inquiries as to the state of affairs 
in Spain, Ferdinand's position and prospects, and 
the attitude of the nobles towards him. They were 
instructed to say that Henry was in good health, 
that he was " right joyous and merry, his realm in 
good peace and tranquillity, and his subjects in due 
obeisance and wealthy condition, established in peace, 
quiet, and restfulness with all outward princes," and 
were to be lavish in assurances of Henry's loving 
attitude, and of the " firm band of amity and kind- 
ness that had connected their wills." They reached 
Ferdinand's camp in Segovia on July 14th, and pro- 
ceeded to collect information for the twenty-two 
articles of their report. The questions set down for 
them to answer are an interesting example of Henry's 
diplomatic methods, and of his anxiety to be posted 
up with first-hand information. The gist of their 
long and valuable report was that Castile could 
only be secured through Juana, whose authority as 
heiress of the kingdom was reverenced more than 
Ferdinand's. As to Henry's reputation in Spain, his 
envoys were able to assure him that he was regarded 
by many of the nobles as one of the wisest and 
mightiest princes of the time, but frankly added that 
many of the nobles and gentlemen had " no know- 
liche of yowr grace nor of yowr reame, the whiche 
thynke that ther ys no land butt Spayne," Henry 
had inquired about the personal appearance and 
habits of the brother sovereign with whom he com- 
municated so often but had never seen, and was 
told that Ferdinand was a finely built man, very 

Y 



338 HENRY VII [1506 

strong for his age (about fifty-six), with a fresh 
complexion and a smiling countenance. He had lost 
a tooth in front which made him lisp, and he had a 
slight cast in his left eye when speaking or smiling. 
There were rtimours about his marriage, but the 
envoys had been told by one of the king's chaplains 
that he had been advised by his physician not to 
marry because of " a certeyn diseas the whiche he 
hathe under his syde." He was the master of a 
great treasure, which he kept in a strong castle.^ 

Before Henry received the report of these envoys, 
he had gone a little further in the direction of the 
alliance with Philip, and was weighing in his mind 
the attractions it offered. But before throwing in 
his lot with Maximilian and Philip he was anxious 
for trustworthy information about their real attitude. 
He instructed one of his envoys, John Savage, to 
make careful inquiry as to whether Maximilian 
sincerely offered his daughter to him, or whether 
he was playing the hypocrite.^ 

About the same time (June 27, 1505) there was a 
curious little scene at Richmond. Young Prince 
Henry, on the eve of his fifteenth birthday, made a 
solemn declaration before Fox, Bishop of Winchester, 
that he had been contracted during his minority to 
the Princess Katherine, and that, being now near 
the age of puberty, he refused to ratify the marriage 
contract, and denounced it as null and void. This 
declaration was signed by Prince Henry and by six 
witnesses. It seems certain that it was not a per- 
sonal protest on the part of Prince Henry, but a 
political move of the king's, who wished to postpone 
the wedding owing to Ferdinand's altered position 

1 Mem. of Hen. VII. (RoUs Ser.), pp. 240-281. 
^ Berg., Spanish Gal., No. 429. 



1505] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 889 

and the other aUiances proposed for his son."^ At 
that very time French ambassadors were in England 
negotiating for Prince Henry's marriage with Mar- 
garet of Angouleme,^ which had been discussed at 
intervals since 1502. Henry professed himself anxious 
to be related by marriage to Louis, " the prince he 
loved most in the world " ; but he proposed himself, 
not Prince Henry, as bridegroom for Margaret of 
Angouleme, who was then about thirteen. Louis 
seems to have been quite content with the substitu- 
tion. He promised to give his niece a dowry of 
100,000 crowns — ^more than the sum given to a 
daughter of France — and gave assurances that he 
would use his influence to obtain the surrender 
of Suffolk.^ In October rumours of a French match 
were abroad in England. It was said that Henry 
thought of marrying Louise of Savoy, Margaret's 
mother, and that he had also been offered a French 
and a Spanish bride. In addition, the king was said 
to be secretly discussing two marriages for Prince 
Henry — one with Eleanor, the daughter of Philip, 
and the other with the daughter of the King of 
Portugal. The Portuguese ambassador reported that 
it was likely that the marriage with Katherine would 
be undone, as it weighed much upon the king's con- 
science.* This anticipates the appearance of the royal 

> Brewer, L. and P. Hen. VIII., iv. 3, 2588 ; Herbert, Idfe of 
Hen. VIII., pp. 387-9 ; Berg., Spanish Cal., No. 435. 

* It is interesting to notice that Sir Charles Somerset — afterwards 
Lord Herbert — one of the witnesses who signed Prince Henry's 
declaration — was the ambassador who was sent to France in August 
to discuss these proposals. Excerpta Hist., p. 133. 

3 L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 125-46. 

* Ibid., ii. 145-6. The idea of the match with the Queen of 
Naples had by this time been given up. Little is heard of it after 
the return of Henry's envoys. He probably shelved it in favour 
of more brilliant prospects. 



340 HENRY VII [I6O6 

conscience that played such an important part in the 
next reign. 

Thus half the crowned heads of Europe were in- 
volved one way or another in negotiations for an 
alliance with Henry. " He will make his choice where 
best he may," wrote the Portuguese ambassador. 
Other observers doubted whether he was in earnest 
in many of these plans, and whether he was not de- 
ceiving the kings of France and Spain for his own 
purposes, especially with a view to obtaining the 
surrender of Suffolk. His desire to obtain the hand 
of Margaret of Savoy seems to have been genuine 
enough, but the lady had no liking for the proposed 
match. Negotiations, however, were continued. Maxi- 
milian sent ambassadors to England in August, bring- 
ing with them two portraits of Margaret and the news 
that Suffolk was in the hands of the Archduke Philip. 

Relations with Spain were not improved by com- 
mercial difficulties. Some English merchants trading 
to Seville had been refused permission to export 
goods thence in their own ships in spite of Ferdinand's 
recent decree, and eight hundred English sailors had 
appeared before the king at Richmond, " all ruined 
and lost." According to de Puebla, Henry fell into 
a great rage, and reproached him bitterly. " The 
words which came from his mouth were vipers, and 
he indulged in every kind of passion." In a few days 
however, Henry had recovered his temper and sent 
de Puebla a present of a buck.^ 

De Puebla seems to have flattered himself that 
the negotiations with the archduke would come to 
nothing owing to his unpopularity in England. He 
tells a curious story of how he checkmated Katherine, 
who had been qiiite won over by Maximilian's am- 

1 Berg., Nos. 438, 439, 442 ; Mem. of Hen. VII., p. 436. 



1505] LAST YEARS : 1503-1509 341 

bassadors, and who wrote a secret letter to try and 
induce Henry to agree to meet the archduke and the 
Queen of Castile at Calais on their way to Spain. 
De Puebla declared to Katherine, " with tears run- 
ning down his cheeks," that this suggestion of an 
interview was due to the machinations of Don Manuel 
(the treacherous brother of her mistress of the robes, 
Donna Elvira), who wished to injiu-e Ferdinand. 
Katherine was persuaded to write another letter to 
Henry contradicting the first, which de Puebla rushed 
off to deliver personally. 

By the end of the year Ferdinand and Henry had 
drifted still further apart. Ferdinand had made 
peace with France,^, and was on the eve of marrying 
Germaine de Foix, niece of Louis XII., who re- 
nounced in her favour his claims to the kingdom of 
Naples. Thus the great cause of dispute between 
France and Spain was removed, and Ferdinand's 
smooth announcement that he and the King of 
France had named Henry as the " guardian of the 
treaty " could not conceal the widening breach. 
Henry on his side was gravitating towards the arch- 
duke, and rumour declared that a league between 
Henry, Maximilian, Philip, James of Scotland, and 
perhaps the Pope had been formed. 

Suffolk's claims were still causing Henry intense 
irritation. The Venetian envoy wrote that he was 
a great thorn in Henry's side, " for he knows that the 
people of England love and long for him, and one 
day or other he might do the King of England much 
mischief." He had passed into Philip's power by 
the capture of Hatten in July 1505, and the sub- 

1 Treaty of Blois, 12 Oct. 1505. Andre's suggestion that Henry 
broiight about this friendship between France and Spain is very 
wide of the mark. Andr6, Annales, pp. 88-89. 



842 HENRY VII [1506 

mission of the Duke of Gueldres. There was great 
excitement in the Netherlands, where the feehng 
against England was very strong owing to renewed 
commercial difi&culties. Philip's subjects hoped " to 
put a curb into the mouth of the King of England," 
but their master's attitude was a disappointment. 
His relations with Henry were becoming cordial. 
The negotiations for the hand of Margaret were 
continued, and twice during 1505, in April and 
September, Henry lent large sums of money to Philip 
for the purpose of his voyage to Spain.^ The prob- 
able explanation is that Henry was anxious to see 
the King of Castile in Spain acting as a check upon 
Ferdinand, whose recent marriage with Germaine 
de Foix threatened a Franco-Spanish entente. The 
rumoured coalition mentioned by the Venetian am- 
bassador was beginning to take shape. Henry was 
ranging himself with Burgundy, Castile, and the 
Empire against Aragon and France. 

Meanwhile the unhappy Suffolk had another change 
of gaolers. Philip, unwilling to offend Henry by 
keeping his rebel, had returned him to Duke Charles. 
He remained for some months in prison in Gelder- 
land, where he was already heavily in debt. He wrote 
many pitiful letters to Philip in his extraordinary 
spelling, asking Philip to order his release. " Ef I 
vare the fardes yend of the vord I veld be at ys 
comand ment to fovel fele ys plessor," &c.^ In the 
autumn of 1505 he was again handed over to Philip 

1 ExcerptaHistorica,pp. 132, 133. Dr. Busoh thinks the large sums 
set down in the Privy Purse accounts (£108,000 and £30,000) are 
a mistake. Busch, p. 186, note 2. PhiKp had been detained in 
Flanders by the war in Gelderland. 

2 L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 253-7, 263-6, ii. 142, 381-2 ; Eljis, 
Letters, iii. (i.) 123-34. 



1505-6] LAST YEARS : 1503-1509 343 

and kept in strict captivity in Namur.^ At last, in 
the beginning of 1506, Suffolk, wearied with vain 
promises and disappointed hopes, beset with creditors 
on all sides, made up his mind to try and settle the 
matter with Henry himself. He did not abandon 
his lofty claims. His communication took the form 
not of an appeal for pardon, but of negotiation for 
a treaty. Envoys from "the Duke of Suffolk of 
England " were sent to treat with duly authorised 
persons to be appointed by Henry as to the settle- 
ment of the troubles in England which arose from 
the disagreement between him and the king. He 
asked for restoration to his estates and to the dukedom 
of Suffolk, and for help to recover his liberty. There 
was a provision that the agreement should be signed 
by Henry and the Prince of Wales and confirmed 
by Parliament.^ But on the very day that Suffolk 
drew up these precious instructions (January 28, 
1505-6) his fate was settled by an arrangement 
between Philip and Henry. 

A fortunate accident had thrown an opportunity 
of meeting Philip and Juana in Henry's way. After 
waiting long for a favourable wind, they had sailed 
on the 10th of January, " with great pomp passing 
the narrow seas," but after four days in the Channel 
the high winds increased to a " terrible hurricane," 
the same " hidyous wind " that blew the golden 
eagle from the vane of St. Paul's. The guns and 
everything movable were thrown overboard, the 

^ The explanation of these changes seems obscure. It may have 
been a manceuvre to deceive Henry. The second loan had abeady 
been paid over to Philip, who had nothing more to gain for the 
moment. The question is difficult and not perhaps of great im- 
portance. See Busch, pp. 190, 371. 

' L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 278-285 ; EUis, LeUers, iii. (i.) 140, 141. 



844 HENRY VII [1506 

ship heeled over, Philip narrowly escaped being 
swept overboard. Fire broke out three times on the 
ship, which, driven before the gale, at last reached 
land at Portland. The other ships of the fleet were 
scattered. The one on which the Venetian am- 
bassador sailed put in at Falmouth, which he described 
as " a wild spot where no human being ever comes 
save the few boors who inhabit it." He reported 
that the Comishmen were a barbarous race, speaking 
a language so different from that of Londoners that 
the latter could not understand them any better than 
the Venetians.^ 

Philip at once sent to inform Henry of his arrival, 
" calling him father," and suggesting, in spite of the 
advice of his suite, that he should take the op- 
portunity of visiting him. Henry welcomed the 
suggestion. It was one of the occasions upon which 
he loved to dazzle all eyes by his magnificent 
court and win fair opinions by the display of princely 
generosity. The neighbouring gentry were ordered 
to attend and entertain the royal guests. Servants, 
palfreys, and litters were sent to Portland, and on 
January 31st Henry received Philip at Windsor 
Castle. He rode out to meet him, and the two 
princes saluted and embraced each other bareheaded. 
Henry treated his guest with splendid cotirtesy. A 
week of stately ceremonial and lavish entertainment 
followed. There were several private interviews 
between the two kings, who vied with each other 
in their courtesies, conveying and reconveying each 
other to their lodgings with much polite show. The 
King of Castile was introduced to Princess Katherine 
and to Princess Mary. Katherine danced in Spanish 
array ; Princess Mary also danced, and played upon 

1 Brown, Ven. Cal., Nos. 862-865. 



1606] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 345 

the lute and the clavegalles, to every one's great ad- 
miration. The week passed pleasantly, hunting deer 
in the forest, playing tennis, " horse-baiting," hawking, 
and wrestling Ibetween Englishmen and Spaniards. 
On the 9th of February Philip was invested with 
the Order of the Garter. After the ceremony the 
treaty of alliance, binding both parties to mutual 
defence and to a surrender of rebels, was signed by 
Henry and Philip, who swore to it on the gospels 
and the sacrament.^ Prince Henry then received 
the Order of the Golden Fleece.^ 

Philip visited Richmond and London before he 
left. He parted from Henry on Monday, 1st March, 
and made his way to Falmouth to join the queen and 
his suite. The visit had been a great success.^ There 
does not seem to be much proof of the story that 
Henry made capital out of Philip's misfortunes and 
wrung concessions from an unwilling guest, though 
his host's personal influence, calculated splendour, 
and generous treatment * may have induced Philip to 
make arrangements which he afterwards regretted.^ 

A treaty for the marriage of Henry and Margaret 
of Savoy, signed by Philip on March 20, 1506, was 
very favourable to Henry. Philip's sister was to 

' Rymer, xiii. 123-7 ; Berg., No. 451. 

' Queen Juana had arrived at Windsor on Feb. 10, but unfortu- 
nately, in view of her later history, there is no accoiint of her 
appearance or behaviour. 

^ For accounts of the visit see Mem. of Hen. VII., pp. 282-303 ; 
Berg., Spanish Gal, No. 451 ; Brown, Ven. Gal, Nos. 862-869 ; 
Paston Letters, iii. 403—6. 

* Philip said that Henry could not have done more for him had 
he been liis own father. He had paid him every honour and defrayed 
his expenses and those of his retinue on their journey. 

° The tone of his language does not support the theory that he 
felt that he had been victimised, though Bacon suggests that the 
King of Castile was " willing to seem to be enforced." 



346 HENRY VII [1506 

have a dowry of 300,000 crowns, and to receive from 
Philip yearly the sums of 18,850 crowns and of 12,000 
crowns in satisfaction of her jointure from her two 
previous marriages. Maximilian and Philip were to 
use all their influence to induce Margaret to consent 
to the marriage. The treaty also provided for a 
strict alliance between the two princes, and that all 
rebels and fugitives should be given up by both 
monarchs. Philip signed the treaty on behalf of 
Maximilian also, and promised that he would confirm 
it within four months.^ The commercial treaty 
(AprU 30), which accompanied it was even more 
favourable to England, and in fact contained so 
many concessions that Philip was reluctant to 
ratify it.^ 

Neither treaty contains any provision as to the 
treatment of the Earl of Suffolk. There are 
several conflicting accounts on this point. Bacon 
gives a vivid story of Henry's private conversations 
with Philip on the subject of " that same harebrain 
wild fellow my subject, the Earl of Suffolk," but 
unfortunately his report seems to be imaginative. 
There is also no authority for the statement of an 
eye-witness who described Philip's reception that 
" unaxed the King of Castile prof erred the king to 
yield Edward Rebell." According to another account, 
Henry gave a " solemn promise in writing sealed with 
his seal " that Suffolk should receive a full pardon 
for all his offences. The Venetian ambassador relates 
that Henry had given a promise and public oath to 
pardon Suffolk and restore him to his estates. Hall, 
following Vergil, also states that Henry " promised 
faithfully of hys awne offre to pardon Edmund de la 

1 Berg., Spanish Cal., No. 460, 463-6, 483. 
^ Rymer, xiii. 132-142. See above, p. 170. 



1506] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 347 

Poole of all paynes and execucions of death." The 
truth lies somewhere between these different reports.^ 

Philip sent one of his suite to conduct Suffolk 
to England. He was handed over to the English 
garrison at Calais on March 16th, arrived in England 
on 24th March — ^nearly a month before Philip sailed 
— and was at once lodged in the Tower. His life was 
spared as Henry had promised, but he remained in 
prison until the end of the reign.^ 

The treaties signed by Philip were valueless until 
they were ratified. The confirmation of the marriage 
treaty, though anxiously expected by Henry, was not 
made until 2nd September, and there was obviously 
no intention of ratifpng the commercial treaty. In 
spite of this, Henry had been doing his best to fulfil 
his obligations to Philip, and in the summer of 1506 
wrote offering to help his ally against the Duke of 
Gueldres, who had again rebelled.^ Maximilian, 
however, had to give Henry the unwelcome news 
that he had failed to persuade his daughter Mar- 
garet to agree to the marriage. He had written 
personal letters and sent ambassadors. The duchess 
said that, " though an obedient daughter, she 
would never consent to so unreasonable a mar- 
riage " ; but he thought her reluctance was due to 
the machinations of the French foxes, and promised 
Henry that he would not give up until he had ob- 

1 Mem. of Hen. VII., pp. 282-303 ; Letter from A. de Croy to 
Maximilian, Berg., Spanish Col., i. pp. 379, 385 ; Brown, Ven. Cat., 
No. 870; Hall, Chronide, p. 501. 

' Ghron. of Calais, pp. 5, 6 ; Brown, Ven. Cal., Nos. 869, 872, 874. 

' He offered a thousand archers for three months, or a loan of 
20,000 gold crowns to pay other troops. He seems to have helped 
Philip effectively by dissuading Louis of France from supporting 
the rebellious Duke. L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 289-300, ii. 164r-7 ; 
Berg., Spanish Cal., No. 491. 



348 HENRY VII [1606 

tained her consent, and that he would pay her a 
personal visit for that purpose. Henry wrote rather 
coldly in reply that he was sorry that Madame Mar- 
garet made so many difficulties about the treaty of 
marriage, hinting that he might accept " one of 
the great and honourable matches that were daily 
offered to him on all sides." ^ 

Meanwhile the situation in Spain needed careful 
watching. Philip had reached Castile safely, but 
found himself opposed at every point by Ferdinand. 
It was the ambition of each to govern Castile in right 
of Juana. Her character was another difficulty. 
Already before she left Flanders there were sinister 
rumours that she was mentally unsound. The 
reports about her became more and more unfavour- 
able. The Venetian ambassador, who in September 
1506 had reported that she bore herself " like a 
sensible and discreet woman," and, in January 1506-7, 
that she showed great bravery during the storm 
at sea, wrote in March that her " intellects were not 
sufficiently sound for the burden of government." ^ 
From this time all the reports harp on the same 
string, and it is impossible not to suspect that Philip 
took the worst possible view of his wife's malady 
owing to her constant quarrels with him and her 
expressed determination to rule Castile herself. Un- 
prejudiced observers like the Venetian envoy, who 
saw Juana while she was at Falmouth, used language 
which hints at a dark conspiracy between Ferdinand 
and Philip to deprive Juana of the government on 
the ground of her incapacity. The ambassador 
wrote in April 1506 that Philip and Ferdinand had 
arranged " to circulate a report before she arrived 

^ Beig., Spanish Ccd., No. 491. 

' Brown, Ven. CcU., Nos. 854, 865, 872. 



1506] LAST YEARS: 1508-1509 349 

in Spain that she was unfit to govern," with a view 
to preventing the Castilian nobles, who were de- 
votedly attached to her, from insisting on the queen 
governing them in person. It was notorious that 
Philip and Juana got on badly together, and the 
theory of a plot between husband and father-in-law 
seems probable enough on the face of it.^ In June 
Philip was thinking of shutting her up in a strong 
fortress, a measure from which Ferdinand dissuaded 
him. Philip and Ferdinand certainly made friends 
in the summer of 1506, the basis of their agreement 
being that they were to govern Castile Jointly, Juana 
being excluded on the ground of incapacity.* 

In September the whole situation was changed by 
Philip's death at the age of thirty. The prospect 
that Ferdinand would attempt to exclude Prince 
Charles from Castile roused all the latent hostilities 
of Europe. It was rumoured that the King of France 
would support Ferdinand's action, and Maximilian 
wrote to Henry in great alarm, begging for his help 
and for a loan of 100,000 crowns to defend the young 
archduke's dominions. Henry saw that the un- 
ratified treaties he had made with Philip were so 
much waste paper after his death, but, while he 
hastened to disclaim any further interest in the war 
in Gelderland, he showed an inclination to cling 
to his friendship with Maximilian in hope of the 
marriage with Margaret. A new commercial treaty 
was also considered. The other side also made a 
bid for his alliance. French ambassadors hastened 
to England to offer the daughter of the Duke of 
Angouleme to Henry in marriage, but Henry refused 
this offer, not having given up hope of the Duchess 

1 Ihid., No. 873. 

' Berg., Spanish Gal., i. Suppl,, Intro, xxiv.-lxxx. 



350 HENRY VII [1506 

Margaret. There is ample evidence of Henry's 
estrangement from Ferdinand. The usual recrimi- 
nations about the marriage portion had taken on 
a very bitter tone, and Ferdinand excused himself 
on the plea that the remaining part of the portion 
was in the hands of the late Queen Isabella's trustees, 
that he was absent in Italy, and that Juana was 
unable, through her " unspeakable affliction " at the 
death of her husband, to sign an order. 

The Princess Katherine was the unfortunate 
scapegoat of their hostility. In December 1505 she 
had appealed to Ferdinand for money in vain, and 
she declared that she and her servants had not a 
single maravedi except for food. She complained 
bitterly that de Puebla's letters were " full of calumny 
and lies," and that he was the cause of all her suffer- 
ings. In the spring and summer of 1506, she had 
several severe attacks of fever. ^ In April she wrote 
that she was in debt for food, and that Henry, owing 
to the non-payment of the marriage portion, refused 
to pay her debts, though she asked him with tears. 
Her people were ready to beg, and she herself had 
for six months been near death. 

It is difficult to reconcile these bitter complaints 
with the friendly tone of Katherine's letters to 
Henry and his to her. Henry wrote in October 
putting a house at Fulham at her disposal, as she 
thinks it will improve her health to be so near him. 
If she prefers any other house, she has only to say 
so and it will be kept for her. Next year her posi- 
tion was improved by a new marriage scheme, which 
promised to add another link to the weakened chain 
of the Anglo-Spanish alliance. It is from one of 
Ferdinand's letters to Katherine, written in March 

' Everett Green, Letters of Boyal Ladies, 131-151. 



1507-8] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 351 

1507, that Henry's proposal that he should marry 
Philip's widow, Juana, is first mentioned.^ The 
golden crown of Castile outweighed the attractions of 
the proposed marriage with Margaret, and although 
negotiations for that marriage were continued, 
Henry's chief efforts between 1507 and 1508 were 
secretly directed to the new scheme. 

Henry's attitude in this matter has been made the 
subject of many hard words. He has been repre- 
sented as a monster who was willing to marry a 
maniac in order to snatch at a crown, but a review 
of the evidence disposes of the most revolting part 
of the story.' Until Hem-y received a letter from 
Ferdinand early in 1508, he had no reason, as far 
as we know, to think that Juana was mad. Before 
the date of that letter he had been told of nothing 
except the infirmity alluded to by de Puebla. Henry 
was certainly guilty of a lack of delicacy in being 
anxious to marry a woman who was rumoured to 
be weak-minded, but the very fact that Juana, with 
a kingdom for her dower, was incapable of ruling 
tempted Henry shrewdly to try and marry her and 
rule Castile in her right. His attitude was no out- 
rage upon contemporary feeling in the matter of royal 
marriages or upon the standards of a coarse age. 
When Ferdinand forwarded the darker details of 
Juana's state of mind — the story of her insane de- 
votion to her husband's unburied corpse, and so on — 
the negotiations were allowed to drop.^ Another aspect 
of the affair seems to be evidence of Henry's declining 
powers. It was strange if he believed that Fer- 

* Berg., Spanish Cal., p. 405. 
^ See below. Appendix iv. 

3 Berg., Spanish Cal., Nos. 522-4, 526-7, 541, 545, 548, 551-3, 
575, 577, 588, and pp. 405, 409, 413, 415. 



352 HENRY VII [1607 

dinand was sincere in the proposal for the marriage. 
He must have known that Ferdinand, after his ex- 
perience with Phihp, would do anything to prevent 
his daughter marrying another prince who would 
try to exalt Juana's authority at his expense. 
Was Ferdinand likely to neutralise the union of 
Castile and Aragon ? The insincere diplomacy of the 
period makes it difficult to know what Henry really 
believed ; but though it is conceivable that he was 
playing with this, like other marriage schemes, in order 
to strengthen his diplomatic position, the simpler 
explanation that he was in earnest about the match 
is the more probable. He certainly was not suflB- 
ciently sanguine about it to make it his only scheme. 
As usual, he had two strings to his bow. As his 
hopes of the Castile marriage faded, his suit for the 
hand of Margaret of Savoy became keener. He was 
certainly sincere in his efforts for this match, which 
harmonised with the drift of his later policy, steadily 
setting away from Spain. 

Just before Easter in 1507, Henry had had a severe 
attack of quinsy, which for six days prevented him 
from eating and drinking, and weakened him so 
much that his life was despaired of, but he had 
made a rapid recovery. Within a fortnight he was 
receiving ambassadors and discussing some of his 
many marriage schemes, and by the late summer 
he was quite restored to health.^ De Puebla wrote 
on 5th October 1507 that the king spent every day 
hunting and hawking, that since he recovered from 
his illness he had been better and stronger than 
ever before, and was even growing stout. The same 

1 Berg., Spanish CcU., Nos. 511, 543 ; Andr6, Annalea, 108 ; Brown, 
Ven. Cal., No. 896. See also L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 233, for an 
earlier illness of the king's. 



1507] LAST YEARS : 1503-1509 353 

letter describes Prince Henry as " already taller 
than his father, with limbs of gigantic size. There 
was not a finer youth in the world." ^ 

At the same time the scheme for a marriage 
between Henry's daughter Mary, and Philip's son 
Charles, which had been mooted during Philip's 
stay in England, began to take defmite shape. Fear 
of France made Henry's alliance very desirable to 
Maximilian, and throughout the autumn of 1506 am- 
bassadors discussed the three points of the alliance — 
the confirmation of the unwelcome commercial treaty, 
the marriage of Mary and Charles, and the marriage 
of Henry and Margaret. 

By the spring an agreement had been reached, 
and in May 1507 a treaty was made which was con- 
siderably less favourable to England than the un- 
ratified treaty. The fact that Henry was prepared 
to accept this proves that he appreciated the value 
of the proposed match between Charles and Mary.^ 
In September 1507 the complicated nature of the 
situation is illustrated by the fact that envoys from 
France, Flanders, Denmark, Scotland, the Pope, 
the King of the Romans, as well as the Spanish 
ambassador were with Henry at Woodstock. France 
had declared war upon Burgundy, and all the powers 
were anxious to make Henry take sides definitely. 
Both marriage projects were under discussion; and 
though the king wrote a letter to the Duchess Margaret 
promising to use his influence to prevent France 
from attacking Burgundy, and sent her a present 
of six horses and some greyhounds, he continued 

1 Berg., Spanish Cal., No. 552. 

^ In 1499 the Duke of Milan had asked for her hand, she being then 
three years old, for his son, but had been refused. Brown, Yen. Cal. 
No. 790. 

Z 



354 HENRY VII [1508 

the secret negotiations for the marriage with Juana.^ 
A propos of these presents to Margaret, de Puebla 
suggested to his master that Henry would much 
appreciate a gift of black and chestnut Spanish 
mules, and would probably present Ferdinand with 
some English and Irish hackneys in return. A 
little later the confusion of open and secret schemes 
for marriage alliances was increased by the reopen- 
ing of negotiations for a French marriage, the pro- 
posal being that Prince Henry should marry the 
sister of the Duke of Angouleme. Nothing came of 
this, but it was utilised by Henry, who, by prac- 
tice, had gained a conjuror's dexterity in keeping 
half-a-dozen things in the air at the same time, 
to put pressure on Ferdinand, who began to think 
that, after all the years of waiting, the marriage 
between Katherine and Henry might never take 
place. 

In September 1508 Henry's hopes of a marriage 
with Margaret received a severe check. Maximilian 
had written to her in September 1507 begging her 
" to amuse Henry with false hopes and prevent him 
allying himself with France and Spain." Margaret 
had evidently suggested that she might consider the 
Prince of Wales as a suitor, but Maximilian told 
her that they would never consent to that, and he 
tried to win her over to consider Henry's suit favour- 
ably by suggesting that she might remain ruler of 
the Netherlands, and spend three or four months 
of the year there. Accordingly in October, Mar- 
garet sent a " very loving letter " to Henry, which 
he at once read to de Puebla.^ But when Henry 

1 Berg., Spanish Col., No. 543. 

2 Ibid., Nos. 463-8, 483, 547 ; L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 153-160 ; 
Brown, Ven. Gal., Nos. 883, 885-6. 



1507] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 855 

pressed his suit, Margaret's real decision had to come 
out. In vain Maximilian painted the advantages of 
the English match in glowing terms, and referred 
to Hemy as " a pattern of all the virtues " ; ^ Margaret 
made her refusal very plain, though she tried to 
soften it by saying that she was fully aware of 
Henry's noble qualities, and would never marry any 
one but him. She pointed out, however, that she 
had already been married three times, and that she 
feared she would never have any children, and 
would therefore displease the King of England. She 
also referred to the marriage portion suggested by 
her suitor as exorbitant. It was obvious that she 
had made up her mind, yet Henry did not give up 
hope.^ 

In the other scheme for uniting the royal houses 
of Austria and England he was more fortunate. 
On 21st of December 1507 the treaty for the mar- 
riage of Prince Charles and Princess Mary was signed, 
and was accompanied by a treaty of mutual alliance 
between Henry and Charles. The Princess Mary 
was to receive a dowry of 250,000 crowns. The 
betrothal was to take place before Easter 1508, the 
marriage was to follow within forty days of the 
prince's fourteenth birthday, and three months later 
the princess was to be sent to join her husband.^ 
The match was celebrated by great rejoicings in 
the capital, and by tournaments. Andre wrote a 
song in honour of Madame Marie to celebrate the 
occasion. 

Henry was delighted at his success. His diplo- 

1 See L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 305, 324, ii. 163-5. 

2 Ibid., i. 301-3, 323-7 ; Berg., Sptmiah Cal., No. 558. 

3 Bymer, xiii. 171-88; Mem. of Hen. VII., 95, 96; Andr6, 
Annales, 95-6. 



356 HENRY VII [1507 

macy had gained a great triumph. An heiress of 
the house of Tudor was to marry one of the most 
powerful princes in Em-ope. He wrote that his 
realm was now " environed, and in manner closed 
in every side with such mighty princes, our good 
sons, friends, confederates, and allies," that it was 
perpetually established in wealth, peace, and pros- 
perity. * A comparison with the state of England 
at his accession some twenty years earlier is a striking 
comment on the king's rare words of exultation. 
But the alliance was very irritating to Ferdinand. 
A treaty which profoundly affected his interests had 
been signed by Henry without consulting him. It 
was too late to interfere, but he did not conceal his 
annoyance. The tone of his letters was very bitter. 
Yet, much as he would have liked to, he could not 
afford to quarrel with Henry. The match was still 
in danger. The Prince of Wales was not much in- 
clined for it, and the king's indifference was obvious. 
He spoke of the King of Aragon as a " stout French- 
man," and dropped hints of some scheme by which 
the Emperor might rule Castile, apparently as regent 
for Juana and Prince Charles, and deprive Ferdinand 
of his influence there. 

In the face of this danger Ferdinand had to try 
and conceal his resentment at the match between 
Charles and Mary, and push on the marriage be- 
tween Henry and Katherine by every means in his 
power. He wrote to his ambassador about the 
scheme for an Anglo-French match, and said that 
if Henry broke faith with him he would make a worse 
war upon the King of England than on the Turks. 
These threats, though not for publication, show the 

1 Halliwell, Letters, i. 194-6. 



1S08] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 357 

feeling of exasperation which filled Ferdinand at 
Henry's growing independence and indifference. 

On August 7, referring to Henry's very rigid atti- 
tude about the marriage portion — ^he had demanded 
payment in cash, and refused to accept a valuation 
of the princess's plate and jewels — Ferdinand al- 
luded to his extreme covetousness, and said that 
he would break entirely with him were it not for the 
Princess of Wales. He feared being cheated. In 
dealing with people of "no honour and of indif- 
ferent character," it was necessary to take great 
precautions ; Henry's demands were against all right 
and charity. He even hinted that Katherine might 
be poisoned in order to get hold of her marriage 
portion ! Arrangements for its repayment were to 
be made that Henry might be freed from the temp- 
tation of killing Katherine. The whole tone of the 
letter is bitterly hostile, and the strangest contrast 
to the former flatteries. 

The recall of de Puebla and his replacement by 
Fuensalida (now governor of Membrilla), who had 
arrived in England early in 1508, had added to the 
friction. Membrilla irritated Henry by adopting an 
independent attitude very different from the pliancy 
of de Puebla. Henry actually announced that as the 
dowry had not yet been paid the marriage should not 
take place. He refused to give Membrilla an audience, 
and the palace guard refused him admittance.^ Both 
sides seemed to be drifting towards war. 

The position of Princess Katherine at this moment 
was extremely painful. Her letters are filled with 
pathetic complaints of the humiliations she was 
forced to endure.^ She wrote that she was abso- 

1 Andr^, Annales, pp. 109, 110; Berg., Spanish Cat, Nos. 586, 
588, 590. 2 gee Berg., Spanish Col., Nos. 645-6, 603, 604. 



358 HENRY VII [1506 

lutely penniless, that she had been obliged to sell 
her property, and that she was dependent upon 
the king's charity. Revolting as Henry's conduct 
appears, something can be said in extenuation of it. 
Ferdinand must share the responsibility for his 
daughter's unhappy plight. He refused either to 
contribute to her support, or to pay the remainder of 
the marriage portion. Henry felt that he was being 
cheated, and what he gave to Katherine he gave 
grudgingly. In justice to Henry, and without any 
attempt at special pleading, it must be noticed that 
there were scandals in Katherine's household which 
throw some doubt upon her complaints of dire poverty- 

When Membrilla arrived as ambassador he found 
a state of affairs in the princess's household which 
reflected little credit upon Katherine and much upon 
Henry's forbearance. 

In 1506 the princess had appointed as her con- 
fessor a certain friar, Diego Fernandez, who rapidly 
obtained an influence over her that was very injuri- 
ous to her reputation. She made him her chancellor, 
distinguished him by many marks of favour, and 
admitted him to an extraordinary intimacy. The 
whole court was seething with scandal about her 
imprudent conduct, and Membrilla felt bound to 
communicate the affair to his master. He wrote 
that the whole of the princess's household was 
governed by this young friar, who led her into many 
errors, 1 He described the friar as " young, light, 
haughty, and scandalous in an extreme manner." ^ 
Henry himself had been obliged to remonstrate 
sharply with Katherine. Slander already connected 
the name of the princess with the friar, "who had 

1 Berg., Spanish Oal., Supp. to vols. i. and ii., p. 13. 
' Hid., pp. 14^22. 



1508] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 359 

neither learning, appearance, manners, competency, or 
credit." " The King of England and all the English," 
wrote Membrilla, " abhor to see such a friar con- 
tinually in the palace and amongst the women." It 
is curious to notice that within five days of the 
date of Membrilla's report Katherine wrote bewail- 
ing her miserable position. She complained that 
Henry had treated her differently ever since Fer- 
dinand's alHance had lost its importance to him. 
She had been obliged to sell her household goods 
to provide herself with money. Henry had told her 
that he was not bound to provide either for Kathe- 
rine or her servants, but that the love he bore her 
would not allow him to do otherwise. Katherine was 
anxious to pay some of her servants who annoyed 
her and send them away, but her greatest afflic- 
tion was not having the means adequately to 
maintain her confessor, the best that ever a woman 
in her position had, and so on. She complained that 
the ambassador had quarrelled with the friar, and 
the latter's threat to leave her reduced Katherine 
to a pitiable state of distress.' She implored her 
father to order the confessor to stay with her, and 
to write asking Henry to have the confessor "very 
well treated and honoured." ^ It is difficult to dis- 
cover the truth when the only reports we have come 
from interested parties, one bent on condemning, 
the other on eiilogising the friar. But, apart from 
the inherent improbability of the ambassador daring 
to write absolutely untrue reports to his master, the 
friar's own letters show him to have been a man of 
great coarseness even in a lax age, and he himself re- 
ported facts proving that the princess confided in him 
to an extraordinary and very unbecoming extent.^ 

1 Ibid., p. 21. 2 7ji(j, 3 ijji^^ pp_ 34^ 43^ 44 



360 HENRY VII [1508 

Further, the unsuitability of the friar for his position 
in the princess's household is proved by the fact 
that he was in later years (1515) convicted of im- 
morality. ^ It is difficult, therefore, not to concur 
in the ambassador's rather than in the princess's 
estimate of the confessor. His influence over Kathe- 
rine did not improve her relations with Henry, 
but we find the latter acting with considerable for- 
bearance. We have on record a striking instance 
of the friar's influence. In defiance of the king's 
express wish, and obeying the friar's commands, 
the princess refused to go to Richmond to meet 
the king. The English gentlemen who had come 
to escort her had to go to Richmond without her, 
leaving her alone with the friar and her servants. 
On the following day she made her appearance at 
Richmond, accompanied only by three of her women, 
the friar, and two servants. Henry was not un- 
naturally displeased at conduct which was undig- 
nified, if nothing worse, and for three weeks he 
took no notice of Katherine, and did not send to 
inquire for her when she fell ill. The ambassador 
himself paid a tribute to Henry's forbearance, and 
admitted that he had blamed the king unfairly, 
that he wondered not at what he had done but at 
what he refrained from doing, especially as he was 
not of the temper readily to allow disobedience. 
Further, the ambassador's letters let fall a hint that 
gives another explanation than Katherine's of the 
necessity that forced her to sell her plate. The 
princess, he wrote, was with difficulty prevented 
from selling a piece of plate every day to satisfy the 
follies of the friar. Within a fortnight the princess 
had sold gold plate for two hundred ducats, and had 

1 Berg., Spamsh Cal., Supp. to i. and ii., p. 45. 



1506-7] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 361 

nothing to show for it. It had all gone in books 
and in the friar's expenses. The case against the 
friar is strengthened by the fact that the next 
Spanish ambassador corroborates Membrilla's view 
of the situation. He speaks of the friar as the worst 
man he had ever known. It is obvious that in the 
unfortunate differences between Henry and Katherine 
the fault was not entirely his.^ 

Meanwhile the Pope was again pressing the claims 
of a crusade against the Turks. Henry, as we have 
seen, had preserved a sympathetic but judiciously 
non-conunittal attitude to the question. He had 
been lavish in expressions of interest, and had even 
helped the cause by a handsome contribution, but 
his cautious temperament had prevented him from 
throwing himself heartily into the Papal schemes.^ 
But as Henry neared the end of his life, his real piety 
triumphed over his caution. 

The steady advance of the Turks filled Eastern 
Christendom with dread. In 1506 Henry had been 
chosen by the Knights of Rhodes, who were the 
vanguard of resistance to the Turks, as their "pro- 
tector, champion, patron, and defender throughout 
the whole Christian world and in his own famous 
kingdoms." ^ In the following year, urged perhaps by 
his sharp attack of quinsy, Henry showed signs of 
justifying this complimentary title by definite action. 

In a letter written from Greenwich on 15th May 
1507,* to the Pope, Henry explains that ever since 
his accession he had been intent on the universal 
peace of Christendom. He had never cherished 

^ Ibid., p. 37. ^ See above, p. 230. 

» L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 287-8. 

* Two copies of this letter, differing slightly, remain. See Berg., 
Spanish Cat., i. No. 619 ; Brown, Few. Cal., No. 893. 



362 HENRY VII [1807 

dreams of foreign conquest, not through lack of 
mihtary resources, treasure, and power, but because 
he was averse by nature to the shedding of Christian 
blood. He was now bound to nearly all the princes 
of Christendom by treaties of alliance and ties of 
blood. He begged the Pope to restore peace to 
Christendom, and, that being done, to proclaim a 
crusade against the infidels, and invite the Christian 
princes to send ambassadors to Rome to settle the 
practical details of the proposed joint campaign. 
The Holy Father, who was wise and strong in body 
and mind and obeyed by the princes of Christendom, 
would earn eternal glory if he avenged the humilia- 
tion of centuries on the detestable infidels. In July 
the Pope wrote in reply complimenting Henry on 
his letter (which he had read ten times himself 
and then read to the Cardinals), but throwing cold 
water on the suggestion of an assembly of ambassadors 
at Rome, as previous experience of such assemblies 
had shown that the Christian powers always failed 
to agree as to who should command, what places 
to attack first, and so on. He suggested that help 
might be sent to those Christian princes who were 
already fighting against the infidels.^ Henry took 
the Pope's hint, and suggested to Ferdinand that 
he might send an army of the renowned English 
bowmen to help him against the Moors. A joint 
expedition from Spain, Portugal, and England might 
do wonders ; and it was believed that a force of 
English bowmen could in a few years conquer the 
whole of Africa. Ferdinand's reply was not enthusi- 
astic. He put oft the proposed war in Africa " till 
his other affairs should have been arranged." Henry's 
new-found zeal was not dashed, and in September he 
^ L.cmdP. Hen. VII., ii. 170-174. 



1507] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 363 

wrote another long letter to the Pope, urging the 
joint expedition upon him in the strongest terms. 
He suggested that " a trinity of kings from the west " 
might lead the advance eastwards towards the Holy 
Sepulchre, and promised, with every appearance of 
sincerity, that even if no other prince was forth- 
coming, he, Henry, would undertake the war in his 
own person.i Nothing came of this appeal, however, 
the Pope being occupied with more mundane cares 
until April in the last year of the king's life, when 
Julius II wrote again to revive the scheme for an 
attack upon the Turks. The appeal came too late ; 
the dying king was unable to accede to the Pope's 
request. During the stormy zenith of his career 
Henry had felt an impulse to take up the burden of 
a Christian prince in defence of Christendom against 
the Tiu-ks, but except for his pecuniary contribu- 
tions it remained an impulse only. The defence of 
his kingdom and the settlement of his dynasty ab- 
sorbed all his attention until late in life, when 
success brought him leisure, and illness reminded 
him of the claims of religion — too late. 

In the same year there was friction between Eng- 
land and Scotland. The marriage between James 
and Margaret had been a great success from the 
political point of view, though the bride herself seems 
to have been miserable enough. Henry had been 
able to count upon Scotch neutrality and sometimes on 
Scotch sympathy in his relations with foreign powers. 
James, for instance, had adopted a very correct 
policy in the question of the Earl of Suffolk,^ and 
in 1505 he had agreed not to revive the old alliance 

1 Ibid., n4r-9, Woodstock, 18th Sept. 

2 See L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 207-210, 211, 213; Epis. Reg. 
Scot., i. 6-9, 30-34. 



364 HENRY VII [1S08 

between Scotland and France.^ In spite of this, 
however, French influence was still strong in Scot- 
land, and in later years, the traditional policy of 
stirring up strife with England was revived. James 
IV. was led to take up the cause of Duke Charles 
of Gueldres, and even wrote to Henry (8th Janu- 
ary 1507) threatening to abandon his alliance with 
England if Henry supported the Duke's enemies. 
Further, James had interfered in Ireland, in support of 
O'Donell. The growing unfriendliness was emphasised 
in January 1508, when Henry arrested the Earl of 
Arran, who was travelling through England without 
a passport on his way back from France. There had 
been many complaints before of this practice of 
Scotchmen travelling in disguise through England, 
but James strongly resented Arran's detention.^ 

The dispute gave Thomas Wolsey, one of Henry's 
chaplains, his first diplomatic emplojnnent. He 
was sent to Scotland on January 23, 1507-8, and Arran 
was allowed to leave England. The great difficulty 
was the attitude of the Scotch nobles. James 
seems to have been loyal to the English alliance, 
but the traditional friendship with France was much 
more popular in Scotland. Wolsey's diplomacy, how- 
ever, succeeded in reconciling Henry and James, and 
the friendship between England and Scotland was not 
broken until the next reign.^ 

In the summer of 1508, it was rumomred that 
Maximilian was thinking of one of his sudden changes 
of policy, and, lured by the hope of alliance with 

* See Ayloffe, Cat. of And. Charters, p. 316; Audr6, Annalea, 
pp. 105-7. 

2 L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 207-10, 211-13, 237-42 ; Epis. Beg. 
Scot., i. 6-9, 30-34. 

' See Wolsey's report. Pinkerton, Hist, of Scotland, ii. 445- 
450 ; L. and P. Hen. VII., Pref. Ixi. ; Eng. Hiat. Bev., iii. 471-7. 



1508] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 865 

France, contemplated abandoning the lately arranged 
marriage between Charles and Mary, in order that 
the former might marry the Princess Claude of France, 
to whom he had once been betrothed. Henry had 
again been seriously ill in February 1508, and it was 
rumoured that he was in the last stages of consump- 
tion. He did not intend, however, to let slip the 
threads of his policy, and, though reluctant to 
break with France, hoped to hasten the postponed 
betrothal ceremony between Mary and Charles. ^ It 
was these conflicting aims that gave Wolsey a second 
opportunity of distinguishing himself. In August 
1508 he was sent into Flanders by Henry. Of the 
details of this mission we have no account, but 
Wolsey evidently succeeded in overcoming for the 
moment Maximilian's inclination to France. In 
October he was again in the Netherlands discuss- 
ing the inevitable difiiculties about the Princess 
Mary's dowry, and trjdng to stir up opposition to 
Ferdinand's government of Castile.^ Henry's letters 
to Wolsey prove that even in November 1508 he 
still clung to the hope of a marriage with Margaret. 
On 7th November he wrote to his " dear and beloved 
cousin " an affectionate letter, and told his envoy that 
if he married the duchess he would be quite contented 
to make his abode in Burgundy for a good space every 
year, and that if the government was not entrusted 
to him and Margaret jointly, he, Henry, would be 
quite willing to let her go there to stay whenever 
convenient.^ 

1 L. and P. Hen. VII., ii. 342-9 ; Brown, Ven. Cat., No. 906. 

' His report gives an account of the reception of the English 
embassy at Antwerp {L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 425-7), and the 
" sweet words " of the emperor on the subject of the Enghsh 
alliance {ibid., i. pp. 372-4). 

3 Ibid., i. 449-52. 



366 HENRY VII [1608 

At last, after a long delay, which was very annoy- 
ing to Henry, Maximilian's envoys arrived in Eng- 
land, and a proxy marriage between Charles and 
Mary took place at Greenwich on 17th December. ^ 
The ceremony was followed by arrangements as 
to the repayment by Maximilian of the loan from 
Henry. ^ 

Strangely enough, the last few months of Henry's 
life saw a reversal of the whole diplomatic situation. 
The isolation of Ferdinand and the coalition against 
him, upon which Henry prided himself, gave way, 
and the king's triumph was shattered. Events in 
Italy gave a new direction to the ambitions of the 
princes of Europe. Ferdinand had secured his hold 
upon Naples, and by a successful campaign in 1507 
Louis XII. had regained his influence in North Italy. 
Maximilian chose this moment to renew his claims 
to imperial dominion in Italy, and found himself re- 
sisted in his design by France, Spain, and Venice. 
But while he pursued these shadowy schemes, the 
revolt of the Duke of Gueldres, assisted by France, 
was endangering the substance of his hold upon 
Burgundy. At this crisis the alliance with England, 
concluded in December 1507, was very valuable.* 

All Maximilian's plans failed, however. He failed 
in Italy, and he failed in Gelderland. Louis XII. 
also had ambitious designs in Italy, which were 
thwarted by the opposition of Venice. Common 
interests drew Louis and Maximilian together, and 
after a great deal of secret negotiation, the two 

1 Rymer, xiii. 236-9. 

^ Certain jewels were left in pledge by Maxunilian, the Jewel 
known as " le riche Fleur de Lys " being pledged for 50,000 crowns. 
L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 440 ; Rymer, xiu. 234, 239, 242. 

' The treaty was confirmed by Maximihan early in 1508. 



1S08] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 367 

princes agreed to abandon their mutual hostilities 
in favour of an attack on Venice. The change was 
fatal to Henry's schemes. 

The diplomacy of Europe centred round the con- 
ference at Cambrai between Margaret of Savoy and 
the Cardinal d'Amboise, representing Maximilian 
and Louis. Though English envoys attended the 
conference at the special invitation of Margaret, 
they were only concerned with the state of affairs 
on the surface and knew nothing of the secret nego- 
tiations which were transforming the diplomacy of 
Europe. The question of Gelderland, the osten- 
sible reason of the conference, was indeed settled 
by the appointment of the Kings of England, France, 
and Scotland as arbitrators. Henry's instructions 
to Wingfield, based on the situation as known to him, 
were quite beside the point. The absorbing interest 
of the conference was the settlement of the Italian 
question, in which England was not concerned. 

Wingfield was urged to press for the dissolution 
of the alliance between the King of France and 
Ferdinand, to try and deprive the latter of the 
regency of Castile, and obtain his exclusion from 
the treaties at Cambrai. He was to declare Henry's 
willingness to accept an alliance with France, to be 
strengthened by a marriage with a French princess.^ 
Henry was obviously out of touch with the situa- 
tion.^ On December 10, 1508, the formation of the 
League of Cambrai joined France and Maximilian 
in common hostility to Venice, and a little later the 
Pope and Ferdinand were also admitted into the 
League. It was a bitter disappointment to Henry ; 

^ The probable date of these instructions was Nov. 1508. 
2 L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 426-52, ii. 365-7 ; Berg., Spamsh Gal., 
Nb. 600. 



368 HENRY VII [1509 

instead of being a member of a coalition designed 
to attack Ferdinand, he found himself almost the 
only power not included in the League. 

But Henry was not the man to acquiesce in even 
momentary exclusion and isolation. In spite of his 
increasing physical weakness, the king patiently set to 
work to rearrange the threads of his policy. For- 
tunately there was no disposition to exclude him 
from the League. He received an invitation to join 
it, but the prospect of dismembering the republic of 
Venice, which had led the powers of Europe to drop 
mutual animosities, had no lure for him. 

The threatened republic appealed urgently to him 
for help. In January 1508-9, they had found out 
about the League of Cambrai. Their consul in Lon- 
don was directed to approach Pietro Carmelianus, 
Henry's Latin secretary, and try and avail himself 
of his favour with the king, " who had always loved 
the state as his special friends." In this crisis of 
their fortunes no effort was to be spared to attach 
Henry to their side. The envoy was to point out 
that France meditated the ruin of Italy, hoped to 
obtain the imperial crown for Louis, and the chair 
of St. Peter for the Cardinal of Rouen. They were 
persuaded that Henry would interfere to save them, 
" both of his goodness and because of the safety of 
the whole Christian world." On 30th January an 
ambassador was sent to England charged with the 
duty of informing Henry of the " deep rooted and 
detestable greediness " of the King of France, and 
of his ambition to become " monarch of the universe " 
and of his other " unbecoming and immoderate 
cravings." Henry and Venice both realised that 
the only hopeful hne of policy was an attempt to 
detach Maximilian from his recent alliance with 



1509] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 369 

France. Maximilian's conduct had been thoroughly 
characteristic. His recent alliance with Henry and a 
three years' truce with Venice he had broken without 
scruple, to pursue one of those ambitious dreams 
which had been the bane of his life. 

By the time the Venetian ambassador reached 
London in March, Henry was too ill to give him an 
audience, though he expressed his good intentions 
towards the republic. He had already written to 
Maximilian to try and adjust his quarrel with Venice. 
A short time afterwards the King of France declared 
war against Venice, and the French and Papal forces 
attacked its territory, but Henry died before this 
news reached him.^ 

Henry's final communications with Ferdinand in 
the last months of his life remain to be noticed. 
After the failure of his attempt to isolate Spain, 
there was a return to the friendly tone character- 
istic of their former relations. 

In January and February 1509 Henry wrote to 
John Stile, his envoy in Spain, directing him to 
inform Ferdinand that the long-delayed marriage 
should soon take place, and Ferdinand replied that 
he would send an ambassador with powers to settle 
the question of the dowry. Stile reported that 
great efforts were being made, however, to detach 
the King of Spain from the English alliance. 
Ayala said that he used all his influence in favour 
of England, and that he was not carried away by 
the anti-English party in Spain. Stile, however, 
admitted frankly enough that the Spaniards were 
" wondrous close, subtle, and crafty far passing his 
understanding," and evidently distrusted Ayala. 
Stile's position seems to have been very uncomfortable, 

1 Brown, Vm. Gal, i. Noa. 929, 936, 939, 940. 

3 A 



370 HENRY VII [1509 

and he wrote that he would have had as good cheer 
and company as ambassador to the Turks or to 
Barbary as he had there. The upshot of it all was 
that Ferdinand agreed to forget his displeasure at 
the betrothal of the Prince of Castile without his 
consent on condition the marriage between Henry 
and Katherine was immediately concluded. He 
declared that he and the King of England had been 
and were now great brothers and friends. This 
last despatch, which Henry never lived to read, 
dealt as usual with the time-worn topics of the dowry 
and the marriage portion. The long negotiations 
between Henry and Ferdinand ended on a familiar 
note.^ 

Rumours of Henry's illness had been carried all 
over Europe in the spring of 1509. His malady, 
which was a form of consumption, took a tui-n for 
the worse in March. " Perceiving that death was 
not far off tarrying," a general pardon was proclaimed 
to all who had offended against the king's laws, 
thieves and murderers alone being excepted.^ By 
the end of the month the king was in great danger. 
On the 14th of April he was reported to be in extremis, 
and on the 21st of April, " so consumed with his long 
malady, that nature could no longer systeyne his 
lyfe," Henry VII. died at Richmond in the fifty- 
third year of his age.* 

His will, which was dated March 30, 1509, is of 
considerable interest. It breathes the spirit of a 
genuine and simple piety. He expressed his wish 

1 Mem. of Hen. VII. (Rolls Ser.), pp. 431-448. 

2 Fisher, Sermon on Death of Hen. VII. (Early Eng. Text Soc, 
xxvii.), 271-2. 

2 Fisher gives an account of the king's last painful days, when 
" for the space of xxvii houres ... he laye continually abiding the 
sharps assautes of deth." 



1609] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 371 

to be buried in Westminster Abbey, " the common 
sepulchre of the kings of this realm," in the chapel 
that he had begun to build anew, where daily masses 
were to be said for his soul and the souls of his wife 
and ancestors. He left £5000 to finish the chapel 
and provide for the carving of the royal arms and 
badges on windows, walls, doors, arches, and vaults. 
He directed that his funeral should be carried out 
" with special respect and consideration to the 
laude and praising of God, the welthe of our Soule 
and somewhat to our dignitie Royal, eviting alwaies 
dampnable pompe and oteragious superfluities." 
Money was left to provide for ten thousand masses 
to be said for the king's soul within one month after 
his death. £2000 was to be distributed to the poor, 
the sick, and to the prisoners, who were to be asked 
to offer prayers for the king's soul, " so that oure 
Soiile may fele that as thei loved us in our life, soo 
thei may remember us after our deceasse." Pro- 
vision was made for payment of the king's debts 
and for the satisfaction of wrongs done by the king 
or by his order. ^ Bequests were made for founding 
chantries and almshouses, hospitals at York and 
Coventry, for the repair of highways and bridges, 
and for various " dedes of merite, almose, pitie, and 
charite." The king's signature was dated the 10th 
of April, ten days before his death. ^ 

1 The names of Empson and Dudley appear in the list of those 
who were to give satisfaction with the Archbishop of Canterbury, 
the bishops of London, Winchester, and Gloucester, and other 
members of the king's council. 

2 WiU of Henry VII. (ed. Astle). The indentures between the 
king and the Abbot of Westminster are in a book bound in crimson 
velvet in the Harleian Library, No. 1498. See description of 
binding (Astle, Will, Appendix I.). There are five seals with the 
king's arms, illuminated portraits, &c. 



372 HENRY VII [1809 

The pomp and ceremony with which the king had 
surrounded his state appearances lent dignity to his 
funeral.^ On Tuesday, May 8th, the king's body 
was brought from Richmond to London, and in the 
evening a stately procession, lit with torches innu- 
merable, passed slowly through the streets of the 
capital to St. Paul's. The king's coffin lay under a 
golden canopy on a chariot drawn by seven horses, 
their black velvet trappings emblazoned with the 
arms of England. The coffin was covered by an 
effigy of the late king, crowned and in Parliament 
robes, and bearing the sceptre and orb ; at the head 
and foot sat two mourners. The king's courser, led 
by Sir Thomas Brandon, followed his dead master. 
" A noble knight, the mourner," bore the king's 
standard behind the coffin. Then followed the Duke 
of Buckingham, the temporal lords and barons and 
the abbots and bishops on horseback, judges in their 
robes, and a long procession of monks and friars, 
singing dirges as they walked. The king's steel 
helmet with its golden crown was borne by a Welsh 
knight. Sir Edward Howard wore his armour and 
bore his battle-axe reversed, and the caps and 
swords sent by three Popes were borne by esquires. 
When the cathedral was reached, the coffin was 
borne up through the nave by fourteen men of the 
king's guard, " because of its great weight," and lay 
that night before the high altar of the cathedral under 
" a goodlie curious Light of Nine Branches." On 
the following morning, after three masses and a 
sermon by John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester,^ the 
king's body was taken in procession to Westminster. 

' A full account is given by the Herald. Leland, CoUeckmea, iv. 
303-9. See also L. and P. Hen. VIII., i. App., No. 6735. 
2 Early English Text Society, xxvii., 1876, pp. 268^88. 




Emery Walker, Photo 
KING HENRY VII 
From the full-length effigy on his tomb in Westminster Abbey 



1509] LAST YEARS: 1503-1509 373 

That night the dead king lay there in state, the 
gloom of the abbey being pierced by a space of 
light round the coffin, near which stood " the most 
costly and curious light possibly to be made by 
man's hand, which was of twelve principal standards." 
On the morrow (Thursday, 10th May) the late king's 
armour, his helmet, shield, and sword were given 
as offerings. Even his courser was ridden up through 
the abbey and offered at the altar. The Duke of 
Buckingham and the other nobles laid palls on the 
bier, " in token of their homage, which they of dutie 
ought to do unto the king." When the effigy and 
the paUs were removed, the wooden shell was re- 
vealed covered with black velvet adorned with a 
huge white cross. Within was a leaden coffin bear- 
ing the inscription, " Hie jacet Rex Henricus Sep- 
timus." The coffin was laid in the vault by the side 
of the queen's. The absolution was pronounced, 
earth was thrown upon the coffin by the archbishop ; 
the lord treasurer, lord steward, and other officers 
of state broke their staves and threw them into the 
vault, the heralds took off their tabards, " cryinge 
lamentably in French, ' The noble King Henry the 
Seaventh is deade. ' " A moment later the shouts 
of the heralds acclaimed his successor, " God send 
the noble King Henry the Eighth long life." There, 
in the centre of the gorgeous chapel that is a monu- 
ment to the dignity and splendour of his proud race, 
lies the dust of the founder of the Tudor dynasty, 
" a king who lived all his tyme in the favoTir of 
fortune, in high honour, riches, and glory, and for 
his noble actes and prudent pollecies worthy to be 
registered in the booke of fame." 



CHAPTER X 

PERSONAL: IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 

"A DREARY life and a dreary reign." That is the 
sununary of a modem sketch of King Henry. '^^ It 
is a strange comment on a life of which the strange 
vicissitudes recall the fabled adventures of heroes of 
romance, and on a reign that, beginning with the 
achievement of a crown from the hawthorn bush on 
Bosworth field, saw the first voyages into the New 
World, and gathered the first harvest of the Renais- 
sance. Yet the comment is not a novel one. It 
follows the general tradition that clothes the reign 
with a pall of impenetrable dulness. The cry is 
that the reign lacks dramatic interest, that it is 
a bleak interlude between the death struggles of 
feudalism and the great political and social convul- 
sions that followed. Historians one after another 
dwell on the importance of the period and bewail 
its dulness ; ^ it is the one thing apparently that 
may legitimately inspire their eloquence. The reign 
certainly suffers from the fact that it came between 
two periods of violent catastrophe. It was a time 
of experiment not yet confirmed, of discovery not 
yet verified ; and when the curtain falls on Henry 
VII. there is a feeling that it is but a prelude to a 

^ A. D. Innes, Twelve Tudor Statesmen. 

^ Bishop Stubbs, for instance, who in a few vivid sentences has 
Slimmed up the great developments of the reign, goes on to comment 
on its faUure to be interesting. Stubbs, Lectiwrea on MecHaeval and 
Modem History, pp. 384:-9. 

374 



1486-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 375 

much more stirring play. But the reign does not 
lack the interest of a gallant and successful struggle 
against odds that at first seemed overwhelming. It 
is rich, too, in the promise of great beginnings, the 
end of which still lies out of sight. The reproach of 
dulness ought not to cloud the reign that made the 
glories of Elizabethan England possible. 

Yet, after all, it is easy to explain this lack of 
interest. There is a strange absence of detailed 
contemporary evidence.^ The half -seen figures of 
Henry and his ministers seem to struggle dimly in 
a twilight world of their own, and to be separated 
by more than a generation from the robust figures 
of their descendants, who play their parts on a 
well-lighted stage. Even the fact that Henry had 
Bacon for his biographer does not entirely atone for 
the lack of the intimate, revealing details of the 
king's character. A grey mist still lies between him 
and us ; form but not colour has come down to us. 
What we know, too, of the people of the period is 
not arresting. The picture lacks those gallant and 
heroic figures that loom larger than life on the canvas 
of history. No amount of special pleading can make 
Henry VII. a hero of romance ; his ministers were 
all prosaic figures. Practical common sense seems 
to be their dominant characteristic. Morton, Fox, 
and Bray were men of sound ability, but there was 
no brilliance, no flash of genius, to relieve their 
humdrum usefulness. With Empson and Dudley we 
get a note of more striking colour, but their villainy 
took the unromantic form of sordid chicanery, base 
alike in method and motive. Even the one great 

1 The invention of the printing press may have had some influence 
on this, and the age of monkish chroniclers was post. Stubbs, 
op. cit, p. 386. 



376 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

crime of the reign — ^the execution of Warwick — is 
not of a character to arouse strong feeUng, and lacks 
the sinister interest of a personal motive. Even the 
romantic career of the " White Rose " is touched 
with the prevalent absence of heroism. Perkin 
Warbeek's gallant figure was the mask of an ignoble 
spirit, tainted with the baseness of personal cow- 
ardice. Neither the king's mother nor the queen are 
particularly interesting.^ The ability of the former 
was directed in uninteresting channels, and the queen 
had beauty, grace, and piety, but little character. 

In spite of the tradition of repellent hardness that 
clings round it, the study of Henry's strange com- 
plex character is curiously interesting. The portrait 
that Bacon drew still holds the field,^ and no attempt 
to sketch the king's character can stand without 
borrowing from his nobly worded study of this 
" Solomon of England," a study " which nothing 
extenuates but sets down naught in malice," of a 
man who, whether he was great or small, was at all 
events the mainspring and origin of the whole policy 
of the reign. It is the picture of the politic king that 
Bacon draws for us with his master hand — ^remote 
from human feelings, guiltless of love or hatred, 
without pity and without resentment, without pas- 
sion and without weakness. No one can deny that 
it is a striking figure, grey, relentless, and inhuman, 
that looms across the intervening centuries. But at 
the risk of blurring this clear outline, the evidence 
inaccessible to Bacon must be remembered. The 
lines of his splendid sketch must be modified. The 
king was more human than he has been portrayed, 
less aloof, less mysterious, less impressive, perhaps. 
It is like an attempt to replace a magnificent paint- 

1 See below, pp. 385-8. ^ Bacon, op cit., pp. 237-45. 



1485-1809] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 377 

ing by a faithful photograph, a sacrifice of art to 
truth. 

The dark, stern, secret figure Bacon has made us 
famiUar with had a less sinister side which is re- 
vealed to us by contemporaries. Many of the 
qualities for which they praised the king, and which 
seem most alien to Bacon's account, have the support 
of hard fact. He was neither harsh nor unkind. 
Considering how few are the original records that 
survive, the amount of evidence that exists to 
prove this is remarkable. Royal letters, letters 
patent, and royal accounts bring before us unques- 
tionable proof of his generosity and benevolence. 
In gratitude to those who had helped him or any 
of his house he is never wanting ; ^ he was com- 
passionate to victims of accident, redeemed debtors 
from prison, undertook the support of poor children. 
He paid the debts of traitors, and pensioned those 
dependent on them. He raised a tomb to King 
Richard's memory and supported the widows of Lord 
Fitz Walter and of Perkin Warbeck. Bacon's theory 
that he had an ineradicable hatred of the House of 
York is disproved by his generous treatment of 
Northumberland, Surrey, and a crowd of lesser men. 
The old picture of the harsh and sinister despot gives 
way to that of a king who was both kindly and con- 
siderate. He admitted his subjects to intimate per- 
sonal relations, and gave ear to their petitions, {j^o 
take at random from a month of his life : he dealt 
with the woes of a disappointed lover, deceived by 
the " nygromancer," who had promised to help him 
to the woman he desired, he gave his protection 

' See Materials, passim. Lord Nevill's young son was brought 
up at court. His horse, bridle, and saddle, and a " Kendall cote for 
littell Nevil" were paid for out of the Privy Purse. Ezcerpta 
Hietorica, p. 122. 



378 HENRY VII [U85-1509 

to the wife of a lunatic, and interfered to protect a 
nun who had suffered ill-usage.^ He did not forget his 
schoolmaster or the son of his old nurse. We find him 
giving £l "to one that had his hand smyten off," 6s. 8d. ' 
" to one that was hurt with a gimne," and so forth. ! 

He was not difficult to approach, and as he jour- 
neyed through his kingdom came into contact with 
many of his poorer subjects. Thus we hear of him 
drinking ale in a farmer's house, stopping to watch 
the reapers in a field and giving them a tip of 2s., 
giving 3s. 4d. to a woman who approached him as 
he rode to Canterbury to give him " a neste of 
leverets." It is a homely picture which shows the 
king in a less forbidding light. It was also his custom 
and that of the queen to accept graciously a variety 
of small offerings brought to them by their subjects, 
giving them small rewards. The poor woman who 
brought a present of " butter and chekins," and the 
girl who brought almond butter (for use on Good 
Friday, when ordinary butter was forbidden), received 
small gratuities. " A fool for bringing a carp " 
was paid 12d., and a woman who brought two glasses 
of water to the king on one of his rides was given 
five shillings. Among the innumerable offerings 
were apples and oranges, cherries and strawberries, 
" posies of flowers," venison, rabbits, quails, wood- 
cocks, cock-pheasants, tripe, " puddinges," " aqua 
vite," malmsey wine, a fresh sturgeon, a nightingale, 
a pomander box, a pair of clavicords, rose-water, and 
cocks for fighting at Shrove tide.^ 

Again, the tradition of the king's ascetic aloofness 

^ Campbell, Materials for Reigns of Rich. III. a/nd Henry VII., i. 
251, 310. 

2 Excerpta Historica, passim ; Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth 
of York (ed. Nicolas). 



1485-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 379 

has to give way before the records of his court. Con- 
temporary descriptions have been preserved of many 
of the great ceremonies of the reign, the king's coro- 
nation, the coronation of Ehzabeth, the christening 
of Prince Arthur, the marriages of Arthur and Mar- 
garet, the creation of Prince Henry as Duke of York, 
the funerals of Arthur and Ehzabeth, and of the 
king himself. 1 From them all we get the same im- 
pression of great splendour and dignity, of stately 
symbolism and ecclesiastical ritual. The Tower of 
London was the royal palace on many of these 
ceremonial occasions. Westminster Abbey was the 
scene of coronations, and St. Paul's of national 
thanksgiving when the king appeared in triumph 
to give thanks for victory. The Thames plays its 
part in many of the pageants ; with its barges 
furnished with " baners and stremers of silk richly 
besene " and its thousands of swans.^ 

The king's private account book, Elizabeth's privy 
purse expenses, and the Roll of the Great Ward- 
robe take us behind the scenes and show us the 
material upon which the king relied for his effects. 
The king himself made a magnificent figure at all the 
great ceremonies of the reign, and seems to have had 
a pronounced taste for gorgeous clothing, and above 
all for jewels, on which, between 1491 and 1505, he 
spent over £100,000.* Even on comparatively in- 

' Rutland MSB. ; Leland, Collectanea. 

' Italian Relation. The background of it all was the capital, 
built of brick and timber, which impressed foreign observers with 
its wealth, abounding with " every article of luxury and with a 
great quantity of wrought silver." There were fifty-two goldsmiths' 
shops in the Strand alone. Ibid., pp. 42-4. 

^_0n January 4, 1504, the sum of £30,000 was paid out of the 
Privy Purse " for divers precious stones from beyond the see " 
purchased by the king. Excerpta Historica, p. 131.; 



380 HENRY VII [U8&-1509 

formal occasions Henry was richly dressed. The 
Venetian ambassador found him at Woodstock 
dressed in a violet gown lined with cloth of gold, his 
collar enriched with many jewels, and his cap with^ 
" a large diamond and a most beautiful pearl." ^ 
He led his army into France in a magnificent suit of 
armour, the helmet gleaming with pearls and jewels 
bought specially for it from the Lombard merchants. 
The nobles aped the king's tastes, and glittered 
with goldsmith's work and with "goodly chaines of 
fine gold." On one occasion the Duke of Bucking- 
ham wore a gown of needlework set upon cloth of 
tissue and furred with sable, valued at £1500, and 
the gold trimming alone of Sir Nicholas Vaux's 
gown was worth £1000.^ The king encouraged all 
this, and often gave pieces of rich silk or velvet to 
his nobles, such as " forty-one yards of riche satin 
to make the Earl of Oxford a gowne," ^ and honoiired 
with his presence the weddings of many members 
of his court.* 

The Ordinances of the Household (1494) reveal 
the ordinary surroundings of Henry's daily life.* 
The ceremonial of the court was designed to set 
the king in a niche apart, invested with every cir- 
cumstance of pomp and dignity. The directions 

1 Brown, Gal. of Venetian Papers, i.. No. 754. The privy puree 
accoiints contain amusing references to the details of Henry's 
costumes. Thus, "an estrych (? ostrich) skynne for a stomacher" 
{Excerpia Historica, p. 95), pynne cases 8s., the king's hatt bande 
of silke 4s., to a barber that did shave the king 4s. 

' Italian Rel., Note, p. 73; Stow, Annates, 484. Sir Thomas 
Brandon wore at Katherine's wedding a chain valued at £1400. 

■^ Excerpta Historica ; RoU of Great Wardrobe, Materials, ii. 1-29, 
175-6. 

* A list of the weddings which Henry attended can be foimd in 
Coll. Top. and Gen., i. 21, 22. 

^ Soc. of Antiqiiaries Proc. 



1485-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 381 

are much more minute than those for the household of 
Edward IV., and it is not fanciful to see in the increas- 
ing strictness of etiquette evidence of studied design.' 
The king made his public appearances with great 
pomp and under a cloth of estate. The furniture 
and decoration of the? royal palaces became increas- 
ingly luxurious. The descriptions of the hangings of 
rich tapestry and cloth of gold, of carpets and cushions 
embroidered with Tudor devices, of cupboards of 
rich gold plate, and of the elaborate furnishing of the 
royal bedchambers show a marked advance.^ The 
king kept a splendid table, at which seven or eight 
hundred people dined daily. ^ The menu at the 
state banquets usually included certain popular dishes, 
shields of brawn in armour, venison, pheasants, 
swans, peacocks (appearing in the glory of feathers 
and tail), capons, " crane with cretney," " lamprey 
in galantine," " pike in Latymer sauce," " perche in 
jellie dipt," snipes, quails, larks, partridges, and 
" conies of high grece." The sweets included cus- 
tards, " marchpayne royal, and tarte polejme." Each 
course was finished by a Sotelte, an elaborate device 
in pastry representing allegorical figures.* 

The splendour of Henry's court had more than 
a personal significance. It was designed to invest 

' Exact rules, for instance, are laid down as to the method of 
" serving the king with spice (gingerbread, cakes, dried fruit, &c., 
practically dessert) and wine. They were handed by the nobleman 
of the highest rank present, while the Archbishop stood on the 
king's right hand and took spice and wine in his turn " when the 
king made him a becke." The regulations for making the king's 
bed were equally minute. 

^ See the account of Queen Elizabeth's elaborate bed-chamber- 
Leland, Collectanea. 

\_J^ " His Majesty," wrote the ItaUan visitor, " himself spends 
£14,000 annually upon his table."/ Italian Bdation, p. 47. 

* Butlmid Papers, p. 119. ^ 



382 HENRY VII [1483-1609 

the new dynasty with the glamour of royal state 
and dignity, to catch the eye of Europe and suggest 
the strength of vast wealth. It was no accident 
when a newly-arrived ambassador or envoy found 
the court in full dress, everything marvellously well 
ordered and served, and the queen jewelled and sur- 
rounded by magnificently apparelled ladies.^ Henry 
fully realised the effect of the trappings of royalty on 
the popular mind, and took care not to destroy his 
growing prestige by impromptu appearances in 
public. His state appearances were calculated to 
impress the minds of spectators, and be magnified 
by rumour in the country. His long progresses 
through the disturbed parts of England had the 
same end in view.^ 

Henry set the example of royal magnificence that 
became characteristic of the Tudor sovereigns, reign- 
ing at a period when royalty reached its climax in 
England. This outward pomp did much to foster 
the growing reverence for royalty, to set it on a 
pinnacle far above the subject, to create the atmos- 
phere of devoted loyalty to the throne that found 
its expression in the Elizabethan period. 

To harmonise with the gloomy colours he has 
chosen. Bacon denies to Henry any relaxations. 
" For his pleasures," he says, " there is no news of 
them," and, while admitting that the court was en- 
livened by " triumphs of justs and tourneys and 
balls and masks," * suggests that Henry was " rather 
a princely and gentle spectator than seemed to be 

^ Leland, Collectanea, iv. 242. 

' Though he usually travelled in the summer, the roads often 
had to be repaired before the royal retinue could proceed. 

' For a vivid account of the tournaments to celebrate the creation 
of Prince Henry as Duke of York, see L. and P. Hen. VII., i. 388- 
404 J GityChron., p. 202. 



1485-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 383 

much delighted." According to Bacon he spent his 
leisure time making " notes and memorials of his 
own hand, especially touching persons, as whom to 
employ, whom to reward, whom to inquire of, whom 
to beware of, what were the dependencies, what the 
factions, and the like, /keeping, as it were, a journal 
of his own thoughts,'/ but though this fits in aptly 
with Bacon's view of Henry's character, there are 
other accounts of the way in which the king spent 
his leisure which are a great contrast to this theory 
of gloomy seclusion. 

Henry was an ardent sportsman, and took every 
opportunity of getting away from the cares of state 
for a few weeks' hunting in the royal forests. He 
hunted in the New Forest, at Enfield, Waltham, and 
Woodstock, as well as at Windsor. '^ He jousted, shot 
at the butts, played tennis, dice, cards, ^ and " chequer 
board," was interested in bull -baiting, bear-baiting, 
and cock-fighting. Besides splendid tournaments, 
banquets, and " goodly disguisings," we hear of 
" plays in the White Hall," Twelfth Night processions, 
and the good sport provided by the " Abbot of Mis- 
rule," when special efforts were made " to cause the 
king to laugh." Morrice dancers and tumblers, 
conjurers, little dancing girls, and rope walkers 
vied with " a Spaniard that played the fool " (and 
received £2 !) and " a felow who distinguished himself 
by eating of coales." His idle hours were enlivened 
by the wit of one or another of a troop of court 
jesters, Scot and Dick "the master fools," Peche 
the fool, Dego the Spanish jester, the " foolyshe 

^ One autumn a train of ambassadors had to follow him about 
from one forest to another. 

' The Privy Purse expenses give the record of his losses. " My 
Lord of York " played dice in his very early years. 



384 HENRY VII [1485-1809 

Due of Lancastre," and others.^ Henry certainly 
had a considerable sense of humour and a ready wit, 
sardonic and ironical though it may have been. 
Monstrosities of one kind or another seem to have 
had a special interest for the king — " the grete 
Walshe child," " the littell Scottisman," the " grete 
woman of Flanders," and so on. The king also had 
a collection of wild animals to which he occasionally 
added. The famous lions and leopards were kept 
at the Tower. ^ 

Like most Celts, Henry was very musical, and 
never travelled without taking in his train some of 
his minstrels, trumpeters, harpists, or pipers. The 
queen and the princesses also kept their bands of 
musicians. On all his progresses Henry was received 
with music, and had many opportunities of enjoying 
and paying for " incidental music " of the most varied 
kind. On one occasion the king gave £l " for a 
child that plays upon the recorders " ; another time 
" the Waytes " received 10s., William Newark was 
given £1 for making a song, and children singing in 
the garden at Canterbury received 3s. 4d. Harpists, 
hornists, violinists, organists, and trumpeters all 
received gratuities. The royal children were all 
musical, and there are many entries of sums spent 
on instruments for them. 

Henry was not without a touch of Celtic romance 
and imagination. He was proud of his Welsh an- 
cestry and his mythical descent from the old kings 
of Britain. The red dragon of Cadwallader flaunted 
on the royal banner. His first-born son was given 

1 Excerpta Historica, passim. A jester even went with the king 
on his journey to France. 

* One accident is recorded, a, man dying from the bite of one of 
the king's lions. 



U85-1609] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 385 

the name of the traditional hero of Britain, and was 
born in the ancient city of Winchester, the scene 
of some of Arthur's exploits. Celtic clanship made 
the king mindful of the Ap Thomases and Ap Rhyses 
who had supported him, reward the Welsh rhymers, 
remember St. David's day, and so on Many details 
of the king's surroundings reveal his fondness for 
symbolism. The Tudor colours of white and green 
appeared everywhere, the Tudor arms and the red 
and white Tudor rose on everything from altar vest- 
ments to cushions and the king's portraits. The 
Tudor device of a crown in a hawthorn bush recalled 
the coronation on Bosworth Field. 

Too little has often been said on the king's attempt 
to spread an air of culture and refinement about his / 
court. ^ He gave his patronage to literature and 
the arts, rewarded poets and ballad-makers, bought 
rare books, encouraged printing, and raised for him- 
self a lasting monument of stone. He shared the 
spirit of adventure and discovery, kept an alchemist 
at work within the Tower, and rewarded a man who 
made gunpowder.^ Thus the records prove that the 
old idea of Henry as the penurious and ascetic king 
must be abandoned. He was no sinister, savage 
despot, with no mind a;bove the tortuous tricks of 
a suspicious tyranny, but a gracious, liberal-minded 
monarch, with a marked taste for splendour and 
pageantry, a more or less conscious imitator of the 
methods of the Italian despots. 

Henry's relations with his family have given rise 
to some discussion, and here, too, Bacon's view must 
be qualified. "The domestic history of his more 
famous son is not more thoroughly repulsive," writes 

^ See above, pp. 311-316. ' Excerpta Hiatorica, paBsim. 

a B 



386 HENRY VII [U85-1509 

one great authority.^ The theory to which Bacon has 
lent the support of his great name, that Henry treated 
his wife badly and her mother worse, long held the 
field, ^ but is now so discredited that it is hardly 
worth dwelling on. The evidence of documents and 
of contemporary historians contradicts the absurd 
and untrue statements that have been made. Henry 
restored Elizabeth's mother " to her fame as a 
woman and her dignity as a queen." * She was 
Prince Arthur's only godmother, and was sometimes 
present at court on state occasions.* The other 
story — about Henry's unkindness to his wife — has 
been disposed of in the same way. There is no shadow 
of support for the theory that Henry was jealous of 
her position as heiress of the House of York. Eliza- 
beth received every possible mark of honour and 
favour. All her public appearances were surrounded 
with great state, the Yorkist colours of murrey and 
blue were displayed in the liveries of her attendants, 
and the white rose of York was emblazoned on the 
trappings of her palfreys.^ On the day of her coro- 
nation, which was unusually gorgeous, the queen was 
allowed the monopoly of public attention, Henry 

' Dr. Gairdner, L. and P. Hen. VII., ii., Intro, xxvii. In his 
Henry VII., however. Dr. Gairdner takes a gentler view. See 
p. 179. 

^ Hume speaks of the king's "disgust towards his spouse,"! 
Haywood of her lifetime rendered miserable by the dislike in which 
the king held her. 

' Privy Purse Expenses ofEliz. of York (ed. Nicolas), Intro. Ixxvii.- 
xciii. He also restored her lands to her. Campbell, Materials, ii. 
265-271. 

* Leland, Collectanea, iv. 249. Her will has been quoted as a 
proof that she was reduced to destitution by Henry's Imaveiy, but 
as she had only a Hfe interest in her property, she had naturally 
little to leave. 

« Leland, Collectanea, iv. 239-241. 



1485-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 387 

being an unseen spectator of the scene. The king's 
fair wife was the central figure of all the ceremonies 
of his court and shared in all its amusements.^ There 
is evidence that the royal pair were on thoroughly 
good terms with each other. Their letters were 
affectionate, they were constantly together, and 
Henry treated her very generously in money matters. 
They often gave each other little presents, and the 
queen with her own hands adorned Henry's helmet 
with jewels, and embroidered his Garter mantle.^ 
No one can read the simple, touching story given 
by the herald of the grief of the royal pair at the 
death of Prince Arthur, and continue to believe in 
the old story of Henry's hatred of his Yorkist queen. 
" When the king understood that sorrowful heavy 
tidings he sent for the queen, saying that he and his 
queen would take their painful sorrows together. 
After that she was come, and saw the king, her lord, 
and that natural and painful sorrow, she with full 
great and constant comfortable words besought his 
grace that he would first after God remember the 
weal of his own noble person, the comfort of his 
realm and of her. . . . Then the king thanked her 
of her good comfort. After that she was departed 
and come to her own chamber, natural and motherly 
remembrance of that great loss smote her so sorrow- 
ful to the heart, that those that were about her 
were fain to send for the king to comfort her. Then 
his grace, of true, faithful, and gentle love in good 

1 The queen occasionally went hunting. Like Henry she enjoyed 
dancing, cards, and dice, and kept a fool, and sometimes took part 
in the " disguisings." Privy Purse Expenses of Eliz. of York, 
pp. 21 seq. She was specially interested in gardening. 

2 Excerpta Historica, pp. 89, 91, 96, 112, 129; Privy Purse, Exp. 
Eliz. of York, p. 8. 



388 HENRY VII [U85-1509 

haste came and relieved her, and showed her how 
wise counsel she had given him before, and he for 
his part would thank God for his son, and, would 
she should do in like wise." ^ Henry's ability and 
energy left Elizabeth no scope for political action 
(for which she was unfitted by character and cir- 
cumstance), but as daughter, wife, and mother she 
seems to have been all that is tender and womanly. ^ 
Erasmus describes her as brilliant, witty, and pious. 
According to Andre she was deeply religious and 
widely charitable, and generous to all who had 
served her.* Some of her habits showed a very 
frugal mind. Her gowns were often mended, re- 
lined and retrimmed, but in spite of these economies, 
owing to her generosity, she was constantly in debt 
and had to be helped by Henry.* On her early death 
the king ordered that this most gracious and best 
beloved princess should be buried with great pomp, 
and then " privily departed to a solitary place to 
pass his sorrow, and would no man should resort 
unto him." ^ John de Giglis' rhapsody about " the 
illustrious maid of York, most beautiful in form, 
whose matchless face, adorned with most enchant- 
ing sweetness shines," seems to have been more « 
propos than many courtly effusions, 

Henry's mother was a really able woman, " strict 
and stately, a woman of great experience and of many 



* Leland, Collectanea, iv. 373. 

^ See Privy Purse Exp. of Eliz. of York, Ixv.-civ. She was very- 
generous to her portionless and dependent sisters, and to Princess 
Katherine. Ibid., pp. 9, 79, 94, 99, &c. 

' Andr6, Vita, p. 37. 

* Excerpta Historica, pp. 107, 111, 127. 

^ Antiquarian Repertory, iv. 654 ; Privy Purse Expenses of Eliz. 
of York, xevii.-ci. 




Emery Walker, Photo 
MARGARET BEAUFORT, COUNTESS OF RICHMOND AND DERBY 
1441—1509 
From the painting,'by an unknown artist, in the National Portrait Gallery 



1485-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 389 

husbands," i but her activity found little scope in 
politics after Henry's accession. She employed her 
talents on matters of court ceremonial, became a 
patron of literature, and founded a professorship at 
Oxford and a college at Cambridge. Fisher dwells 
much on her piety and asceticism. ^ Ayala thought 
she had considerable influence with Henry, more 
than pleased the queen, who, though popular, was 
powerless. Bacon's account is that " his mother he 
reverenced much, heard little " ; but in the absence of 
further evidence all theories about the extent of her 
influence over Henry are equally admissible, and may 
be equally wrong. All we know is that Henry re- 
paid her devotion by the gift of his rare affection.^ 
Erasmus has left a charming picture of the life of the 
royal family at their favourite palace of Richmond. 
All Henry's children were well educated, most of them 
were accomplished and musical. The young Prince 
Henry, a handsome boy, already showing signs of a 
high spirit, strong will, and haughty temper, had 
been well educated, and treated Erasmus to a Latin 
speech, to which the mortified scholar, taken un- 
awares, could make no apt reply.* 

Henry's treatment of Katherine has already been 
discussed,^ and it appears that, though there were 
faults on both sides, Henry's natural kindliness was 
warped to some extent by a desire to get the better 
of Ferdinand and by Katherine's own imprudence. 
The king's relations with his family, therefore, bear 

' Stubbs, Lectures on Med. and Mod. Hist, 397. 

2 Fisher, Month's Mind of Lady Marg. (ed. Mayor), 259-310. 

' Their letters are very intimate and tender. See, for instance, 
Halliwell, Letters, 188; Ellis, Letters, I. (1), 42-8; Everett Green, 
Letters of Boyal Ladies, pp. 118-9. 

* Letters of Erasnms, ed. Froude. 

= See above, pp. 334^5, 357-360. 



390 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

scrutiny better than is common in royal houses, but 
he does not seem to have cared much for any one 
outside his family. 

He was constitutionally indifferent to women. No 
records of his gallantries have come down to us. 
Yet he was a keen critic of feminine beauty. His 
curiously minute inquiries into the physical charms 
of many of the fair and royal ladies of Europe (his 
ambassadors had to satisfy him on more than twenty 
points) are in piquant contrast to what we know of 
the " grave and reverend churchmanlike king." A 
solid dower would not satisfy the elderly widower 
on the look-out for a rich young wife; the heiress 
must be a beauty as well. Henry is really amusing 
for once, even if unconsciously so. But he was a 
man of contrasts, and the story of his pursuit of Juana 
of Castile, though shorn of its most revolting aspect, 
reveals much more than his usual indifference. It 
shows us Henry in one of his most inhuman moments, 
almost brutally absorbed in his " politic " schemes. 

But all these details of Henry's private life, which 
seem so much at variance with Bacon's grey-toned 
study, do not detract from its essential truth. 
Though sharing in the amusements of a splendid 
court, he remained intellectually alone. His great 
aim was kingship, his passion was statecraft. It is 
not strange, therefore, that history has dwelt little 
on the gentler features of Henry's character. They 
were no addition to the driving power that made and 
kept him king. The history of a reign chequered 
by privy conspiracy and rebellion was little affected 
by the fact that the king had genial manners, a 
lively humour, and a deep affection for his few 
intimates. 

The contrast between medievalism and modernism 



1485-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 391 

characteristic of the period appears in the charac- 
ter of the king himself. In external characteristics, 
like much of the England of his day, he was medieval, 
a strict and pious churchman, a mighty hunter, and 
a founder of religious houses.^ /Henry's piety was 
undoubtedly sincere. Vergil states that the king 
gave generously to religious objects, and never let 
business or lack of time prevent him from hearing 
two or three masses daily ; that he gave alms in 
secret, following the Christian precept, maintained 
an almoner in his household, and secretly gave large 
sums of money to provide masses for his soul and 
for the welfare of the whole realm. ^ He prayed much, 
we are told, and on Church festivals especially re- 
cited the canonical hours, and in the hour of triumph 
he never forgot to give thanks ; his religion went 
beyond mere .outward observance. He founded 
many religious houses and chantries,^ and went on 
pilgrimages to the famous shrines of the kingdom.* 
In his will Henry directed that a kneeling figure of 
himself in golden armour, holding in its hands the 
crown of England, should be given to each of these 
shrines ; and a golden figure of St. George, weighing 

1 He was specially interested in the Franciscans, and founded 
six religious houses for that order. See Pol. Verg., op. cU., p. 617. 

2 Ibid. ; Fisher, op. c*., 268-288. 

' Three chantry priests, for instance, were maintained at the 
king's expense in Westminster Abbey, and the Grey Friars sang 
daily in Carmarthen church for the souls of the king's father and 
many anniversaries and obits, " orisons, prayers and suffrages," 
were maintained (MSS. Harl. 1498, fo. 916). The king's wiU left 
money for tapers and lights to bum about his tomb, " continually 
and perpetually while the world shall endure." 

* It is interesting to notice that Sir Richard Guildford, one of the 
king's intimate friends, went on a pilgrimage to the Holy Land and 
died there. Pilgrimage of Sir Bicha/rd Guildford (Camden Society). 
See also Privy Purse Expenses, Excerpta Historica, p. 88. 



392 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

140 ounces, set with diamonds, rubies, pearls, and 
sapphires, to St. George's Chapel, Windsor. Among 
his most cherished relics were a piece of the Holy Cross 
brought from Greece, the leg of St. George captured by 
Louis of France at the siege of Milan, both of which 
the king left in his will to the altar within the railings 
of his tomb at Westminster. The king never forgot 
what he called " the- seven works of Mercy, Pitie, 
and Charitie." He endowed almshouses, and to pro- 
vide for the care of the poor, the sick, and the dying 
he founded Savoy Hospital, " because there be fewe 
or noon suche like commone Hospitallis within this 
our Reame, and that for lack of theim infinite nombre 
of pouer nedie people miserably dailly die, no man 
putting hande of helpe or remedie."^ Henry was an 
obedient son of his Holy Father the Pope, and re- 
ceived from three Popes in succession the conse- 
crated cap and sword which distinguished him as a 
prince of the Church militant. His minister, Morton, 
was made a cardinal, but he failed to obtain the 
canonisation of his late uncle, Henry VI., for which 
he had been very anxious. In the midst of rebellion 
at home and threatening intrigue abroad, he had 
made considerable sacrifices of money for the 
Crusades.^ 

All the more sinister by contrast appear his dark 
medieval traits, the secretiveness, superstition, and 
suspicion that increased with advancing age. He 
trusted few men, suspected many. He had been 
plunged too early into the bitter waters of adversity, 

1 Will of Henry VII., ed. J. Astle, p. 15. The king also con- 
templated the foundation of two similar hospitals in Coventry and 
York, and left £40,000 by his will for their endowment, but this 
bequest was not carried out by his executors. He also founded alms- 
houses in Westminster. 

" See above, p. 230. 



1485-1609] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 893 

and as a fugitive exile, eating the bread of depen- 
dence at the courts of France and Burgundy, had 
learnt to watch and school himself until repression 
had killed all spontaneity. He was " a dark prince 
and infinitely suspicious." / Yet the system of 
espionage he introduced into England had the excuse 
of political necessity, " he had such moles perpetu- 
ally working and casting to undermine him," and 
nothing is heard of any attempts to entrap men like 
the contemporary activity of the Inquisition in Spain 
or of the Medici family. The king gave no personal 
countenance to informers,^ and his spies only worked 
where treason was known to be in the air.^ But the 
character that had been moulded and hardened by 
adversity was warped by this continual suspicion in 
the day of triumph. " His continual vigilance," we 
are told, " did sometimes suck in causeless suspicions 
which few else knew."^ Superstition, too, had a 
strong hold on the king's mind. Priests and astro- 
nomers often appeared at court armed with " prog- 
nostications " and prophecies of approaching doom.* 
At times the ghosts of his dead past seemed to peer 
and beckon over the king's shoulder; the execution 
of Warwick was a sacrifice of the king's hatred of 
bloodshed to his panic-stricken dread of a prophesied 
danger. 

But these were defects of his later years ; in his 
prime he showed a very modern and tolerant spirit. 
He had the faculty of looking at men and events with 

' See the story told at the time of the Buckingham conspiracy. 

^ See the Paston Letters, iii. 323, for the watch kept over the 
Earl of Surrey's household. 

^ One of these " prognostications," brought to Henry on 8th Jan. 
1492 (Excerpta Historica, p. 85), has been preserved. See Report on 
MSS. of Lord MiddleUm (Hist. MSS. Com. Rep. 1911), pp. 263-6, 
and App. p. 613. 



394 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

a half-humorous detachment. No catastrophe could 
disturb him. Rebel subjects threatening the capital, 
a Scotch army crossing the border, a pretender on 
the high seas bent on invasion, failed to rob the king 
of his presence of mind. No succession of dangerous 
plots unnerved him, no ingratitude incensed him, no 
sudden gust of anger obscured his statecraft. He 
was patient in adversity and in victory unrevengeful. 
Bacon speaks of Henry as " a merciful prince," and 
notices his aversion to bloodshed. " His pardons 
went both before and after his sword," he writes ; 
and Hall also alludes to his " merceful pitie." But 
there is much more to be said of a tenderness for 
human life that is startling in view of the contem- 
porary tradition of brutality. Henry's attitude to 
rebellion was really original. He shook himself free 
of the cruelty that had stained the civil wars, when 
victory for one side had meant death and confisca- 
tion for the other. He abandoned the proscriptions 
hitherto associated with tyranny. The axe of the 
headsman and the dungeons of the Tower were rarely 
employed in comparison with former reigns. Poli- 
tical impostors met a scornful clemency that empha- 
sised their ignominy. The executions of his reign 
were so much measures of political necessity that 
they seemed to Bacon but slight blots on the king's 
fame. Warwick, Stanley, and Audley were the only 
important victims sacrificed by a king who had 
taken up the blood-stained sceptre of Richard III. 
Henry had a short memory for the former deeds of 
men who gave him their support, and thus he won 
over the nobler spirits to his side. The king denied 
to the Yorkist cause the strength that comes from 
martyrdoms. The battle of Stoke was the last great 
baronial conflict on English soil, and Warbeck's im- 



1485-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 395 

posture, though it had the dangerous support of foreign 
princes, brought no outburst of Yorkist enthusiasm 
in England. In all this Henry showed a spirit that 
would be called generosity in another king. But 
again the strange contrasts in the king's nature 
obscure his nobler qualities. He did not demand 
blood as the price of rebellion, but cash. A swarm 
of collectors of fines and compositions settled down 
like flies on rebellious counties, and the appreciation 
of princely clemency is obscured by a memory of his 
unroyal bartering of pardons for pence. Again, the 
success of this unrevengeful habit of the king's as a 
measure of policy obscures the fact that it arose not 
from calculation but from a mind averse to blood- 
shed, a kindly temper that abhorred severity, and a 
lofty magnanimity that would not stoop to revenge. 
And yet this tolerance, this modern judicial spirit, 
had its unfortunate side. It marked out the king's 
inteUectual loneliness. The times were those of 
intense partisanship, bitterness had accumulated in 
the faction fights of the Roses, and the king's cold 
tolerance was alien to the contemporary spirit. 

Vergil, who seems to have been a very acute 
observer, notices Henry's sensitiveness to public 
opinion — a very modern trait. He was anxious to 
make a good impression ; "he did not forget that 
his life was watched by the eyes of many." But the 
fervid loyalty that Henry schemed and contrived for 
eluded him. His total lack of enthusiasm made his 
character non-magnetic. He was too cautious, too 
calculating, too cold. There was no flash of daring 
to beat upon men's minds and fire enthusiasm. His 
appeal was to the head, not to the heart. Though 
he gained the confidence and support of his people, 
he did not win their love. 1 He was a patient, secret. 



396 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

very lonely man, with a strength of will and character 
that won him success, not sympathy. He had no 
favourites, hardly any friends. There is no record of 
a strong personal attachment. 

He had all the Tudor self-will and impatience of 
being ruled ; his ministers were servants first and 
counsellors afterwards. As Bacon put it : " He was 
of an high mind, and loved his own will and his own 
way, as one that revered himself and would reign 
indeed. Had he been a private man he would have 
been termed proud, but in a wise prince it was but 
keeping of distance, which, indeed, he did towards 
all, not admitting any full or near approach to his 
power or to his secrets. For indeed he was governed 
by none. . . . He had nothing in him of vainglory, 
but yet kept state and majesty to the height." ^ 

He was too strong to fear ability in others, and 
could employ as his servants the ablest men in the 
kingdom, being confident of his own power of keeping 
them as tools. " Neither did he care how cunning 
they were that he did employ, for he thought himself 
to have the master reach." This self-confidence was 
not misplaced. Of all his counsellors, only one, Sir 
William Stanley, fell from loyalty to treason. Henry's 
faithfulness to his servants is noticed by Bacon. ^ 
No minister of his became the scapegoat of an un- 
popular or abandoned policy. 

Another of the modern traits in Henry's character 
was his freedom from insularity. This was ap- 
preciated by foreign observers. Ayala wrote that 
the king, not being a pure Englishman, desired to 

' Bacon, op. cit., p. 240. T No one," wrote Vergil, "had so 
much power with the king as to Tie able to dare or do anything of. 
his own authority . he wUled to rule not to be ruled by others." I 

^ Bacon, op. cit., pp. 242-3. 



1485-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 397 

employ foreigners in his service, which was checked 
by the diaboUcal and unequalled jealousy of his 
English subjects. His exile had familiarised him 
with the continental spirit, and he knew how much 
England missed by lack of intercourse with the 
world beyond the Channel. Therefore, as we have 
seen, he welcomed foreign influences at his court, 
and, most important of all, began the practice of 
keeping resident ambassadors at the European courts. 

On the much discussed question of Henry's avarice, 
Bacon has a few words that anticipate the modern 
verdict. He paints for us no vulgar miser, but a 
wise prince intent at first only on escaping the poverty 
that crippled contemporary rulers, and in later years 
carrying carefulness about money to excess through 
" nature, age, peace, and a mind fixed upon no other 
ambition or pursuit." Contemporary opinion ac- 
quitted him of " gredy desire of riches or hunger 
of money." As we have seen, he could spend mag- 
nificently. His heavy exactions were dictated by 
policy, not greed. Ayala had heard from the king's 
own mouth that " he intended to keep his subjects 
low, because riches would onJy make them haughty," 
and politic motives encouraged the recovery of those 
he had shorn. As Vergil put it, he wished to see 
their plumes grow again. " He mervellously enriched 
his realme and himself e, and yet left his subjects in 
high wealth and prosperity." 

Many of the qualities that made Henry a good 
king have made him an unpopular man. He was 
too businesslike for his kingly office. Thrift is the 
most repellent of all the virtues, and thrift on the 
throne seems stationed too high. This . may have 
something to do with the feeling of cold dislike that 
has gathered round King Henry. His good deeds 



398 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

are unheroic, his bad deeds were not great crimes, 
but sordid actions for which some poUtic extenua- 
tion can be found. It is impossible to become en- 
thusiastic in praise or blame, it is even difficult to 
allot either without reservation. The king was 
neither virtuous nor vicious, but lived an average 
life in a moderate way. It was not until premature 
old age had gripped the king that the darker shades 
in his character became prominent. 

One great historian even compares him unfavour- 
ably with Maximilian, and asserts that while morally 
Henry was far the superior, every one likes Maxi- 
milian better.^ But is this so ? Can we honestly 
prefer the glittering pinchbeck of the proudly styled 
King of the Romans to the stern figure of the founder 
of the most characteristic dynasty that ever wore 
the crown of England, the maker of modern England, 
the forerunner of oiu* naval greatness ? If we do, it 
is strange indeed. 

But in the region of intellect much bolder language 
can be used. The king's ability was marvellous. 

There is no doubt of the reputation that Henry 
won for himself. If we leave out of account the 
panegyrics of courtly historians, it is clear that he left 
behind him " a name which was the admiration of 
the succeeding age."^ To Bacon he was the Solomon 
of England ; to Burleigh he was a storehouse of all 
heroical virtues ; to Stow " a prince of marvellous 
wisdom, policy, justice, temperance, and gravity." ^ 

' Stubbs, Lectures on Mediceval and Modem History, p. 387. 
" All the balance of real goodness, what measiixe there is of politic 
honesty, purity of life, reality of character, straight-forwardness 
in religion, intelligent appreciation of his people's needs, every 
moral consideration, is in favour of Henry Tudor: yet we like 
Maximilian better." 

" L. and P. Hen. VII., ii., Intro, xxviii. 

3 See also Pabyan, Chronicle, p. 690. 



1485-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 399 

Hall, following Vergil, gives the contemporary 
opinion with no uncertain voice. He was " of wyt 
in all thynges quycke and prompte, of a pryncely 
stomacke and haute courage. In great perels, doubt- 
full affaires, and matters of weighty importaunce, 
supernaturall and in maner devyne. . . . He was 
sobre, moderate, honest, affable, courteous, boun- 
teous, so muche abhorring pride and arrogancy, that 
he was ever sharpe and quicke to them which were 
noted or spotted with that crime." 

Bernard Andr6, in his usual style of tedious pane- 
gyric, compares the king's difficulties to the twelve 
labours of Hercules, and finds a parallel in each case. 
Richard III. is the Erymanthian boar, Margaret of 
Burgundy the Amazons, Perkin Warbeck in Ireland 
is Cacus hiding in a cave, the factions of the red and 
white rose are the Hydra, and so on. The fact that 
a comi; poet was capable of imaginative glorification 
of his patron is not specially significant, but even 
the most captious critic can find some meaning in 
the parallel. It is not an empty flattery, but a 
rendering, in the taste of the time, of a very real 
tribute to the king's success. 

Fisher's eulogy on the king's personal gifts — his 
quick and ready wit, his retentive memory, wide 
experience, and gracious speech— contains another 
eloquent summary of his successes. '" Leagues and 
confederacies he had with all Christian princes ; his 
mighty power was dread every^vhere, not only within 
his realm, but without also ; his people were to him 
in as humble subjection as ever they were to king, 
his land many a day in peace and tranquillity." ^ 

His reputation abroad was, as Bacon points out, 

1 Fisher, Sermon on Death of King Hervry (Early Eng. Text 
Soc, xxvii.). 



400 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

even higher than it was at home. " Foreigners 
noted that he was ever in strife and ever atoft,"/ In 
his later years the reports of foreign ambassadors are 
uniformly couched in the same tone of admiration 
for the king's wisdom and belief in the strength of 
his position. The Spanish envoy reported that the 
king was rich, had established good order in England, 
and kept the people in such subjection as had never 
been the case before. *' His good fortune," wrote 
the Italian visitor, " has "been equal to his spirit, for 
he has never lost a battle. From the time of William 
the Conqueror no king has reigned more peaceably 
than he has, his great prudence causing him to be 
universally feared." J'^y 

He came to the throne with a reputation for wis- 
dom, and the years spread round him the glamour 
of success. This valuable growth of prestige Henry 
fostered by bringing into play his personal influence, 
by no means a negligible factor, dazzling the eyes of 
ambassadors and envoys by a display of wealth and 
splendour, winning them over by his gracious bearing. 
" He put them into admiration," writes Bacon, " to 
find his universal insight into the affairs of the world. 
... So that they did ever write to their superiors in 
high terms concerning his wisdom and art of rule." ^ 

Henry loses nothing by comparison with his foreign 
contemporaries Ferdinand, Louis, Charles, Maximilian, 
and Philip. He was by far the ablest of them all. 
His task was harder, and he accomplished more than 

1 Italian Relation, p. 46. 

2 As we have seen, de Puebla came under Henry's influence to such 
an extent that he forgot his duty to Ferdinand and Isabella. The 
Venetian ambassador, after a long audience, reported that the king 
was gracious, grave, and dignified. He knighted the ambassador, 
gave him a collar worth 500 ducats and a fine horse from the royal 
stables. Brown, Fen. Cal, i. Nos.^754, 764, 765. 



1485-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE EEIGN 401 

any of them. Whether we regard methods, morals, 
or achievements, the balance must be in favour of 
the Tudor. 

Was Henry a great king ? The answers to this 
question have been very different. Bacon seems 
rather to under-estimate than over-estimate the king's 
ability. He regards him as an opportunist, dexterous 
in evading danger rather than provident in prevent- 
ing the cause of it, near sighted rather than long 
sighted ; and to this psychological weakness more 
than to the pressure of circumstances Bacon attri- 
butes the constant perils and dangers which menaced 
him. " The perpetual troubles of his fortunes 
(there being no more matter out of which they grew) 
could not have been without some great defects and 
main errors in his nature, customs, and proceedings." ^ 
But, with all deference, it seems unfair to burden 
the king's character with responsibility for the 
troubles which made care and watchfulness a neces- 
sity. Further, he declared that Henry lacked lofty 
aims, and that his achievements were inconsiderable 
when viewed in connection with the manner in which 
he was endowed by nature and fortune. An oppor- 
tunist he certainly may have been, with the gift of 
snatching gain from circumstances, but it is idle to 
deny that he had one great aito to which all else was 
subordinated — that of founding in England a dynasty 
that could claim and enforce obedience, gain and use 
power ; and this aim, though it lacks the glamour 
of a disinterested ideal, has certainly the dignity of 
practical utility. Bacon's complaint is really a 
reading of the reign in the light of the political theories 
cmrrent in his own time. 

Another great historian, after asking the question 

* Bacon, op. cit., p. 244. 

2 C 



402 HENRY VII [1486-1509 

whether Henry was a great king, returns a doubtful 
answer. He finds in him none of the "self-denying 
devotion which gives itself for the people " — ^no 
impulsive well-doing.^ And yet these things, though 
perhaps the qualities'^ we might look for in a good 
man, would have been defects in a great king placed 
in Henry's position. It was not " impulsive well- 
doing " that England needed, but the conduct based 
on coldly reasoned foresight that Henry gave her. 
Self-denying devotion would not have been as useful 
to England as the heavy hand of a determined 
despot, When Henry came to the throne, weakness 
and disorder were arresting facts that made a practical 
aim faithfully pursued more valuable than the most 
enlightened theories. No weak hand could have led 
the divided and distracted nation, but Henry VII. 
was the strongest of all the heavy-handed Tudors. 
Not swayed by sudden personal caprice like Henry 
VIII., not subject to moods of irresolution and inde- 
cision like Elizabeth, his strength of will and pur- 
pose seemed superhuman. When the chance he had 
waited for long came at last, it found him prepared, 
and he fortified his position with all the arts and all 
the dogged grip of a successful adventurer. What 
he once grasped, he held for always ; he never lost 
ground, but inch by inch pushed forward. 

The eloquent sentences in which Bishop Stubbs 
qualifies Henry's greatness seem to prove it. He 
cannot be denied the title of a great king ; whether 
he was a good man is a matter of opinion, whether 
he was an attractive one is generally negatived. He 
had none of the arts of the demagogue, but all the 
qualities of the despot. He was a statesman first of 
all, and as a statesman he must be judged. 

^ stubbs, op. cit. p. 425. 



1485-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 403 

" What he minded, he compassed," and success 
crowned his fine struggle to bring order out of 
anarchy. He found England weak, he left it strong ; 
he found it divided, he left it united. He founded a 
dynasty, and left to his son the example of success- 
ful despotism, a strong title, a great treasure, a sub- 
servient nobility, a dependent Church, a submissive 
Parliament, and a popular policy. From the blood- 
stained horrors of dynastic strife there emerged an 
England of fair promise. 

Unfortunately, while a master mind has empha- 
sized the grey tones of Henry's character, chance has 
made us familiar with a very sombre portrait of 
the king's person. Most of the existing pictures 
show a grey, wasted face with set, harsh features 
furrowed by suspicion and anxiety, a steely grey eye, 
and a pinched, forbidding mouth. But all these 
pictures have the same original, the cast taken after 
death for his monument. Of the king in his prime 
we have no picture, and the contemporary accounts 
of Henry's beauty, his golden hair and brilliant 
complexion, seem almost unbelievable. Yet they all 
agree in essentials. Hall, following Vergil, whose 
authority as a contemporary is unchallengeable, wrote 
of Henry as a man " of body but leane and spare,i 
albeit mighty and stronge therwith, of personage and 
stature somewhat hygher then the meane sorte of 
men be, of a wonderfuU beutye and fayre complexion, 
of countenaunce mery and smylyng, especially in his 
communication." ^ 

"^ This is a curious rendering of the word " gracile," which appears 
in Vergil's account. 

2 Hall, Ghron., p. 504 ; Pol. Verg., p. 616. Others speak of the 
king's sweet, well-favoured face, his goodly and amiable person, his 
natiual complexion of the fairest mixture, and so on. 



404 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

But the familiar portraits of the king, painted 
when time and his " sorrowful life " had set their 
mark upon him, are full of character. It is a strong, 
bold, hard face, the face of a man acute and pene- 
trative, cold and determined, of a leader of men not 
of a popular hero, a man to be obeyed and feared, 
not loved. Strength not sympathy, watchfulness not 
generosity, are written in the much-lined face. 

Even if there be a difference of opinion about 
Henry's personal character, there can be none about 
the importance of the reign. It is a historical com- 
monplace that the end of the fifteenth century marks 
the line between medieval and modern Europe. 
Though obviously no such line of demarcation can 
be scientifically accurate, the history of the reign of 
Henry VII. reveals the constant contact and conflict 
of things new and old, both in fact and theory. A 
Crusade and a voyage in search of the North-West 
Passage come together ; a law forbidding usury, and 
an enormous expansion of the credit system ; an in- 
vasion of France by the king in person, reviving 
the memory of the triumphs of Crecy and Agin- 
court, and an anticipation of the modern attempt to 
secure peace by maintaining a balance of power in 
Europe. 

It is almost impossible to read the reign in the 
contemporary spirit. It is easy to exaggerate the 
immediate effect of events which later proved to be 
of immense importance ; there is a constant tempta- 
tion to read too much of the future into the events 
of the time. To us the reign appears a time of be- 
ginnings, of fresh starts in nearly every branch of 
human activity ; but the points which contemporaries 
— ^not being prophets — dwell upon are the details of 
conspiracy and the incidents of diplomacy. The 



1486-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 405 

germs in which the history of modem Europe was 
hidden escaped them. Dying medievalism and aspir- 
ing modernism were in contact, but the friction pro- 
duced only a spark here and there, no illuminating 
flash to make its mark on the contemporary imagina- 
tion. We have not, therefore, on anything but the 
king's personal character the verdict of the men of 
his own day. 

There is an irrational but irresistible feeling of 
disappointment that no dramatic events ushered in 
these great beginnings. Their effect during the reign 
was insignificant, and occasionally — as in the case 
of the printing press, which at first almost smothered 
creative literature — ^bad. Mighty changes of prin- 
ciple were introduced, but the principle long lay 
buried under a series of empirical experiments. The 
Cabot voyages set the ships of England on the course 
which was to found the world empire of a great 
naval power, but for practical purposes they were 
little more than unsuccessful commercial specula- 
tions. The New World of the West was discovered 
by accident in an attempt to find a new route to the 
old trading grounds of the East, and the failure of 
that attempt appeared more significant in the reign 
of Henry VII. than the continent discovered by 
chance. The same point is to be noticed about the 
Renaissance : the spirit of modern Europe was there, 
but it was at first inarticulate. The visible links 
with the past attracted eyes which could not see, 
as we do, the links leading on to a mighty future. 
In another aspect the reign began a period which 
ended only with the Napoleonic wars, a period 
dominated by the territorial ambitions of rival 
European states. Europe was in the throes of a 
great separatist movement. The old bonds of the 



406 HENRY VII [1485-1509 

Papacy and the Empire were giving way, and the 
separate states of Europe were pushing their oppos- 
ing way in a world which had lost its old boundaries 
by the geographical discoveries. The admitted ten- 
dency of modern writers to exaggerate the effect of 
national character on history need not obscure one 
of the most interesting points in the reign — ^the 
emergence of a self-conscious national spirit with 
keen ambitions. In England, national replaced local 
patriotism, and hardened rapidly within natural 
frontiers. 

The political rise of the middle class, whose influ- 
ence on history before the age of great revolutions is 
a purely English phenomenon, is another new feature. 
The strength of the English House of Commons 
during the centuries that followed the death of 
Henry VII. was an exception to the usual position 
of the third estates in other European countries. 
This development, which has been an ingredient giving 
a marked flavour to the development of national char- 
acter, was due in great measure to the Parliamentary 
despotism of Henry VII. and his descendants. 

Sixteenth-century English history is the era of 
triumphant personality. The sovereigns of the Tudor 
line drove their personality deep into history, and 
the stamp of those bold, strong figures is printed 
deeply for all time. Personal character became a 
potent force, but the period of its triumph was the 
result of the work done by the uninspiring founder of 
the mighty dynasty. The slow, secret, patient work 
of Henry VII, laid the foundation upon which his 
successors reared the glittering fabric of their domi- 
nating personalities.! jje was the ancestor in char- 

^ Henry VII. and his famous son now face each other across the 
entrance to the lobby of the House of Commons, and these modem 



1485-1509] IMPORTANCE OF THE REIGN 407 

acter as well as in fact of that curiously individual 
family. In his complex nature we find most of 
the characteristics of his descendants — ^the ruthless 
strength of his son as well as the literary interests of 
his grandson, the narrow piety of Mary and the com- 
mon sense and commercial spirit of Elizabeth — and 
from him they inherited the delicate tact and in- 
stinct for popularity common to them all. 

In spite of the lack of contemporary recognition, 
it is hardly an over-statement to say that every 
force — political, social, religious, and intellectual — 
which moulded the history of England for some 
four hundred years appeared first in the reign of 
Henry VII. We have seen the founding of the Tudor 
despotism, the creation of a royal navy, the revival 
of learning, the introduction of the printing press, 
the beginning of modern diplomacy, the appearance 
of national self-consciousness ; we have seen the 
anticipation of the mercantile system, of the idea of 
the balance of power, of the rise of the middle class, 
and of the dissolution of the monasteries. Finally, 
the voyages of discovery heralded the dawn of a 
new age, in which the Atlantic replaced the Mediter- 
ranean and England became the central fortress of 
civilisation instead of its last outpost on the edge of 
the unknown. 

wall paintings happily reveal the essential contrast between them. 
It is a contrast between mind and matter, between the frail tenement 
of a mighty spirit and triumphant materialism, between the man who 
fought for and him who inherited, success. 



APPENDICES 



ITINERARY OF HENRY VII 

Note. — The Charter, Patent, and Close RoUs of the reign fwrnish the 
greater part of the Itinerwry. Additions from other sov/rces, such as the 
collections of royal letters, and the privy pwrse expenses, are distinguished 
by the reference numbers. 

1485. Aug. 22, Bosworth Field ; 27, London.^ Sept. 1-3, West- 
minster ; 3, Guildford ; 5, Westminster ; 6-7, Guildford ; = 8-19, 
Westminster. Oct. 30, Westminster (Coronation in Abbey). Nov. 
7, Westminster (Opening of Parliament) ; 8-19, Westminster.^ 
Dec. 1-9, Westminster ; ^ 10, Westminster (Prorogation of Parlia- 
ment) ; 17, Greenwich.^ 

1486. Jan. 18, Westminster (Marriage with Elizabeth of York) ; 
21, Westminster.^ Feb. 24, Westminster.^ Mar. 10, Ware, 
Eoyston ; 11, 12, Canterbury ; 16, Peterborough, Stamford ; 17, 
Stamford ; 22-28, Ely. April 1-5, Lincoln ; 7-15, Nottingham ; 
21-28, York ; 29, 30, Doncaster. May 2-5, Nottingham ; 8-12, 
Birmingham ; 10-15, Worcester ; 20, Gloucester ; 21, Bristol ; 22, 
Gloucester ; 23-26, Bristol ; 28, Abingdon ; 30, Westminster. 
Atig. 30, Somersham (co. Huntingdon). Sept. 1-6, Winchester ; 
7, Salisbury ; ^ g, East Dereham ; ^ 10, Brandon Ferry (co. Suffolk) ; 
12-16, Downham ; 14, Greenwich,^ Christchurch Monastery (in 
Southwark) ; 17-27, Winchester. Oct. 2, Mailing Abbey ; 4, 
Winchester ; 9, Greenwich ; ^ 13-24, Winchester.^ Nov. 1, Green- 
wich ; = 6-11, Westminster ; " 13-22, Greenwich ; " 22-Jok. 13, 
1487, Greenwich.2 

1487. Jan. 1-13, Greenwich ; ' 21-24, Windsor ; 22, Canter- 
bury; 25, Moor;' 27-31, Sheen.^ FA. 1-March 11, Sheen.^ 
Mar. 19, Chertsey Monastery ; ' 20, Westminster ; 22, Croydon, 

^ City Gh/ronide (ed. Kingsford). 

" Materials for Beign of Henry VII. (Rolls Ser.). 

' This, the " royal manor of Moore," is probably Moor in Essex. 

411 



412 HENRY VII 

Sheen ; 25, 26, Chertsey ; ^ 28, Fulham ; 30, Hevingham Castle, 
April 1-2, Colchester ; ^ 4r-8, Bury St. Edmunds Abbey ; ^ 10, 
Colchester, East Harling ; 1 11-13, 17, Norwich; 17, Walsingham;i 
18-19, Cambridge; 22, York; 22-30, Coventry.^ May 1-8, 9-14, 
17, 22-27, 31, Kenilworth Castle.^ June 1-5, Kenilworth Castle ; 
16, Battle of Stoke ; 24, Leicester ; 27, Kenilworth Castle ; 29, 
Pontefract; 30, Kenilworth. July 1-18, Kenilworth ; 20, Eaby; = 
21-22, Kenilworth ; 25-26, Nottingham ; 29, Pontefract ; 30-31, 
York. Aug. 1-6, York;i 8, 11, 13, Durham; 9, Croft;* 14-18, 
Newcastle-on-Tyne ; ' 19-20, Durham ; 22, Richmond (co. York); 
23-24, Ripon ; 25-27, Pontefract Castle ; 28, Newark, Chesterford ; 
29, Stamford ; 30, Huntingdon. Sept. 1-3, Warwick ; •■ 8-10, 
Leicester Abbey ; ^ 11, Warwick ;i 11-12, Rockingham Castle;^ 
17-26, Warwick. Nov. 2, St. Alban's Abbey ; 4, City of London ; ^ 
9, Westminster (Opening of Second Parliament) ; 17-30, West- 
minster ; 20, Greenwich ; 23, Tower of London ; 25, Westminster 
Abbey (Coronation of Queen). Dec. 1-5, Greenwich; 11-18, 
Westminster ; 19-22, 25-31, Greenwich.' 

1488. Jan. 10, Rochester,! Esher ; ' 13-23, Greenwich ; 29-^185. 
1, Westminster.! Feb. 2-6, Greenwich. ^ Mar. 5, Sheen ; ^ 6, 
Westminster ; ^ 8-17, Sheen ; 18-20, Canterbury ; 21-22, Sand- 
wich ; ! 23-24, Dover ; ^ 25-31, Canterbury. April 1, 2, 5, 8, 
Canterbury ; 8-11, Windsor ; ^ 14, Southampton ; ' 16, Maidstone ; 
17-18, Chichester ; ' 19 (Easter Day), Windsor ; 20-28, Windsor. 
May 1, Sheen ; 3-21, Westminster ; 25-28, Windsor ; 29-30, 
Croydon." Jun£. 1-2, Croydon ; 2, Sheen ; 4-14, Windsor ; 8, 
Maidstone ; 18-20, Westminster ; 2^July 14, Kenilworth Castle.' 
July 1-14, Kenilworth Castle ; ' 16, Abingdon Abbey ; ' 19, "Wood- 

* Materials (RoUs Ser.). 
^ EUis, Letters I., 1. 

^ This was the Durham seat of the NeviU family. 

* This is probably a hamlet in Yorkshire on the Durham side of 
the Tees. 

' Gily Chronicle (ed. Kingsford). 

' Leiand, Collectanea, iv. 

' Esher was the site of a royal manor or palace. 

" Leiand, Collectanea, iv. The king visits and inspects Venetian 
galleys. 

' When at Croydon the king was entertained at the Archbishop's 
palace. 



ITINERARY 413 

stock manor ; ' 23, Kenilworth ; ^ Tame ; •■ 26, Abingdon ; •■ 27- 
Aug. 4, 8-12, Windsor ; ^ 13, Horsham ; 15, Lewes ; 16, Charing ; " 
17, Battle ; 20, Raby ; 23, Lewes ; 27, Arundel ; 29, Slindon. 
Sept. 3-9, Windsor;! jq-II, Knole ; 16, Ashford ; 19, 22, Can- 
terbury. Nov. 1-2, Windsor ; 4, Sheen ; 10-30, Westminster. 
Dee. 1-18, Westminster ; 23, Maidstone ; 25-27, Sheen. 

1489. Jan. 3, Maidstone ; 11-13, Westminster (Opening of 
Third Parliament) ; 14, Windsor ; 15-28, Westminster ; 29, Sheen. 
Feb. 1-23^ Westminster ; 23, Westminster (Parliament prorogued). 
April 4, Windsor; 8-May 12, Hertford Castle.^ May 1-12, 
Hertford Castle ; ' 27-June 3, York ; 4, Pontefract ; 10, Notting- 
ham ; 11, Harborough, Leicester ; 12, Northampton ; 14, St. 
Albans ; 18, Woodstock ; ' 21, Northampton ; ^ 2Q-July 13, 
Windsor.' Aug. 4, Sonning ; * 4^Sept. 19, Windsor. Oct. 4, 
Westminster (Second Session of Third Parliament opens). Nov. 
1-30, Westminster. Dec. 4, Westminster (Third Parliament pro- 
rogued). 

1490. Jan. 24, Westminster (Third Session of Third Parliament 
opens). April 10-11, Canterbury. Jvly 11-28, Westminster.^ 
Aug. 14, Windsor ; 15, Eltham." Sept. 10-15, Manor of Woking ; 
17, Woking ; 19, Ewelme Manor (co. Oxford) ; 22, Windsor ; i 28, 
Westminster ; 30, Ewelme Manor. Oct. 16, Ewelme ; 21, 24, Mort- 
lake. Nov. 15-18, 21-26, Windsor ; 29-30, Westminster.' Dec. 
1-3, 7-19, Windsor ; 21, Greenwich ; 23, Maidstone ; 26-28, West- 
minster. 

1491. Jan. 2-8, Maidstone. Mar. 31, Canterbury. April 3 
(Easter Day), Canterbury ; 4-8, Canterbury. June, Green- 
wich (June 22, Birth of Prince Henry). July 11, Greenwich;" 
19-20, 22, Colchester ; 28, Norwich. Aug. 4, Bury St. Edmunds ; 
5 Ely ; 10, Northampton ; 14, Leicester ; 31, Tewkesbury. Sept. 

1 Materials (Rolls Ser.). 

^ The Archbishops of Canterbury had another palace here. 

* Buiing July and August the king was hunting in Windsor 
Forest and Enfield Chase. Leland, Collectanea. 

* The king had a hunting lodge at Sonning. 
s L. and P. Hen. VII. 

^ There was a royal manor at Eltham. 

' On these dates Prince Arthur was created Prince of Wales and 
Princess Margaret was christened. Leland, Gollectamea. 
8 Ellis, Letters, II. (i.), 170-3. 



414 HENRY VII 

2-6, Gloucester ; 8, Kingswood ; 10-14, Bristol ; ^ 19, Wells ; 29, 
Shaftesbury ; 30, Salisbury. Oct. 1, Salisbury ; 5, Marlborough ; 
14, Westminster ^ (Meeting of Third Parliament) ; 15-30, West^ 
minster. Nov. 4, Westminster ^ (Fourth Parliament prorogued). 

1492. Jan. 8, Isleworth ; » 18, Windsor ; ' 23, Sheen ; ' 24, 
Westminster (Second Session of Fourth Parliament) ; 25, Tower of 
London.^ Mar. 5, Westminster (Fourth Parliament dissolved). 
April 5, Canterbury ; 6, Sheen ; ' 15, Windsor ; 19, Sheen ; 22-24, 
Canterbury. May 1, Mayfield * (co. Sussex) ; 7, Sheen. . Jvly 19, 
Windsor ; ' 22, Greenwich ; " 30, St. Mary Cray,' Maidstone ; ' 
31, Sittingbourne. Aug. 1-12, Canterbury ; 13, Sittingbourne ; 

14, 15, Maidstone ; 16, Dartford ; 17, Greenwich ; ' 27, Windsor. 
8ept. 4, Dartford ; ' 7, Maidstone ; ' 9, Sittingbourne ; 10-24, 
Canterbury ; 24, Sandwich ; 24^30, Canterbury. Oct. 2, Dover 
(King sails for France) ; 2-16, Calais ; 18-30, Boulogne. Nov. 1-4, 
Boulogne. Dec. 7-11, Calais ; ' 17, Dover ; 19, Greenwich ; 22, 
City of London (State visit) ; 25, Westminster. 

1493. Jan. 1, Westminster.' Feb. 14, Lambeth ; = 19, West- 
minster." Mar. 2, Westminster ; " 30, Canterbury. April 2-10, 
Canterbury; 15, Windsor;* 21, "At Richard Lees";* 22, 
Buckingham ; » 25, Banbury, Warwick ; " 30, Coventry.* May 13, 
Northampton.* June 5, Coventry." Au^. 22, Saltwood ; 27, Maid- 
stone. Oct. 2, Colly Weston ; * 17, " Moorhende " (? Moor Place, 
Surrey); 20, "At Richard Lees";* 22, Windsor.* Dec. 22-26, 
Maidstone. 

1494. Jan. 4, Maidstone ; 7, Windsor ; " 12, Winchcombe ; ° 

15, Fowlers ; ' 17, Woodstock ; * 18, Minster Lovell ; * 19, Oxford ; = 
22, Woodstock ; * 23, Fowlers ; * 24, Wycombe ; ' 25, Windsor ; * 
26, Isleworth ; 31, Westminster. Fel. 23, Sheen. Mar. 13, 
Uxbridge ; 20-30, Canterbury. April 2, Greenwich ; * 5, Dart- 
ford ; * 8, Rochester," Canterbury ; 9-14, Canterbury ; * 15, 
Sandwich ; " 19, Dover ; » 26, Dartford ; * 30, Greenwich.* June 1, 
Sheen." Aug. 2-10, Sheen ; * 12, Syon Abbey ; * 14, Windsor ; 19, 
Reading ; 20, Ewelme ; 23, Abingdon." 8e/pt. 1, Woodstock ; * 4, 

* Bicarfs Calendar of Bristol, 45-47. 

2 Bot. Pari. (RoUs Ser.), vi. 440. 

3 Privy Pv/rse Expenses, Excerpta Historica (ed. Bentley). 

* The Archbishop of Canterbury had a palace there. 

* Stow, Annales. 

* Privy Purse Expenses ; L. and P. Henry VII. 
' Near Cranbrook in Kent. 



ITINERARY 415 

Langley ; 12-16, Canterbury. Oct. 1, Westminater ; 26, Sheen ; 
27, Westminster. Nov. 1, Westminster (Prince Henry created 
Duke of York ') ; 2-14, Westminster. Dec. 22, Knole ; 23, Green- 
wich ; 26-29, Tower of London. 

1495. Jan. 30, Westminster ; 31, Greenwich.^ Mar. 2, Sheen. 
April 1, Sheen ; ^ 18-27, Canterbury ; 28, Westminster. May 
7, Eltham ; = 15, Sheen.^ June 21, Wycombe ; = 22, Notley " 
(co. Bucks) ; 23, Woodstock.^ Jidy 1, Chipping Norton ; ^ 2, 
Evesham ; ^ 3, Tewkesbury ; ^ 4, Worcester ; ^ 10, Bewdley ; ^ 12, 
Ludlow ; " 15, Shrewsbury ; '' 16, Combermere Abbey ; 17, Holt 
Castle '' (co. Worcs. or co. Denbigh) ; 18, Chester ; ^ 20, Kenil- 
worth Castle ; ' 27, Vale Royal Abbey ; 28, Alnwick ; 30, 
Latham.* Ang. 3, Knowsley ; ^ 4, Warrington ; ' 5, Manchester ; ^ 
6, Mayfield (co. Staffs.) ; 8, Newcastle ; ^ 10, Stafford ;" 11, Lich- 
field ; 2 12, Burton ; ' 13, Derby ; 28, Loughborough ; 29, Leigh 
(? CO. Salop). Sept. 1, Wollaston ; 4, Colly Weston ; " 11, Rock- 
ingham ; 12, Northampton ; 16, Banbury ; 19, Woodstock ; " 
29, Ewelme ; " 30, Bisham. Oct. 1, Windsor ; ^ 3, Sheen ; ^ 14, 
Westminster (Meeting of Fifth Parliament) ; 16, Westminster." 
Nov. 16, Ely Place.* Dec. 21, Westminster. 

1496. Feb. 26, Sheen." Mar. 24r-April 4, Canterbury. April 
5, Westminster ; 15, Maidstone ; 16, Sheen." May 12, Sheen ; " 
15, Westminster ; " 17, Sheen." June 12-21, Sheen ; " 23, Merton 
Abbey ; 25, Chertsey Abbey ; 26, Guildford. Jvly 2, Faversham 
Abbey; 3, "Alfford"; 5, Waltham " (Bishops' Waltham held by 
the Bishops of Winchester) ; 10, Porchester ; " 14, Southampton ; " 
20, Bewley ; " 21, Isle of Wight ; " 23, Bewley ; " 25, Christchurch ; 
26, Poole ; " 27, Corfe Castle." A-ug. 5, Salisbury ; " 10, Haytes- 
bury ; " 11, Broke" (co. Wilts) ; 12, Bath ; 13, Bristol ; ' 19, Acton 
Turville; 21, Malmesbury Abbey; 25, Cirencester Abbey ;= 30, 
Woodstock." Sept. 9, Wycombe;" 10, Windsor; 21, Windsor. 
Od. 24^Nov. 5, Westminster (Great Council) ; 30, St. Paul's Cathe- 
dral (State Visit)." Nov. 1-5, Westminster. Dec. 25, Greenwich. 

1 L. and P. Henry VII. 

" Privy Purse Expenses. 

3 EUis, Letters, I. (i.), No. xi. 

* This was one of the seats of the Earl of Derby. 

' This was the seat of Edmund de la Pole, Earl of Sufiolk, 

" King and queen dine with the Serjeants {City Ohronide). 

' Ricart's Galenda/r of Bristol. 



416 HENRY VII 

1497. Jan. 16, Westminster (Meeting of Sixth Parliament) ; 
Feb. 17, Sheen.^ Mar. 13, Westminster,^ (Sixth Parliament 
dissolved) ; 17, Sheen ; 18, Maidstone ; ^ 25-26, Canterbury. April 
17, London ; ' 21, Greenwich.^ June 5, Aylesbury ; ^ 11, Bucking- 
ham ; ^ 12, Banbury ;i 13, Woodstock ;i 14, Abingdon;* 15, 
Wallingford ; ' 16, Reading, Windsor,* Kingston, Lambeth ; * 18, 
St. George's-in-the-Field,i Blaokheath, St. Paul's;* 18-23, Tower 
of London.* Jvly 1, Sheen ; '■ 29, Netley Abbey (co. Hants) ; 30, 
Woodstock. Ang. 1-19, Woodstock ; ' 19, Oombury (co. Oxford) ; 
21, Minster Lovell;* 22, Woodstock.* Sept. 1-13, Woodstock;* 
17, Cirencester;* 28, Malmesbury Abbey;* 29, Bath;* 30, Wells.* 
Oct. 2, Glastonbury ; * 3, Bridgwater ; 4-5, Taunton ; * 6, Tiverton ; * 

7, Exeter.* Nov. 18, Sheen ; 23, Westminster. Dee. 25, Sheen. 

1498. Feb. 21, Greenwich (Birth of Prince Edmund). Mar. 16, 
19-21, Westminster; 23, 24-26, Maidstone; 28, Charing. April 
2-17, Canterbury ; 19, Maidstone ; * 20, Faveraham Abbey,* Canter- 
bury ; * 26, Sittingbourne ; * 27, Rochester ; * 28, Dartford.* May 

8, Tower of London ; 16, Elsiug ; 23, Hertford. June 9, West- 
minster ; 15, Sheen.* Aug. 1, Havering ; 3, Bordefeld ; * 4, Mont- 
gomery;* 6-11, Castle Hedingham;" 14, Bury;* 20, Buckenham 
Castle' (co. Norf.); 21, Norwich;* 22, Blickling (co. Norf.);' 

23, Walsingham ; 24-25, Lynn; 29, Knole. Sept. 6, "At Pet. 
Herough's"; 7, Colly Weston;* 8, Huntingdon;* 12, Harrowden" 
(co. Northants) ; 13, Northampton ; * 16, Edgcote ; " 19, Banbury ; * 
20, Woodstock ; 21, 30, Knole. Oct. 1, Croydon ; 4, Langley, 
Woodstock. Nov. 22, Westminster ; 30, City of London (Reception 
to Prince of Wales). * Dec. 28-31, " At my Lord Bath's." ** 

1499. JoTC. 1-13, "At my Lord Bath's";" 18, Westminster ; 19, 
Greenwich ; * 27, Westminster.** Feb. 2, Sheen ; * 6, Greenwich ; 

24, Greenwich. Mar. 5-21, Greenwich ; 23-31, Canterbury.*^ 
April 1-3, Canterbury. May 4, Wanstead ; 7, Tower of London. 

* Privy Fwrae Expenses. " Eot. Pari. 

s EUis, Letters, i. * L. and P. Henry VII. 

5 Visit to the Earl of Oxford. 

' This was the home of Sir Thomas Knyvet. 

' This was the home of Sir Thomas Boleyn. 

* The residence of Sir Nicholas Vaux. 

8 Visit to Sir Beginald Bray. *» City Ch/ronide. 

** This was a visit to Oliver King, Bishop of Bath and Wells. 
** Bergenroth, Spanish Calendar. 



ITINERARY 417 

June 16, Sheen ; 25, Langley ; > 26-27, Abingdon ; ' 29, Donning- 
ton ; 1 30, Andover ; ' 31 , Winchester.! Aiig. 2, Southampton ; 

3, Beaulieu ; 9, Isle of Wight ; 23, Quarr Abbey ; 24, Portchester. 
Sept 2, Bishop's Waltbam ; 3-20, Winchester; 23, Frefolk; 26, 
Basingstoke. Oct. 9, Windsor; 24-Z)ec. 7, Westminster.^ Dec. 8, 
Wanstead ; 14, Elsing.^ 

1500. Jan. 13, Sheen ; i 14, Hatfield.' Feb. 5-10, 24, West- 
minster.^ 4pr»7 7, London ;* 21, Canterbury. Jfo?/ 2-5, Canterbury ; 
3-June 9; Calais. June 16, Dover, Maidstone ; 20, Canterbury ; '' 
22, Westminster.* July 24, Greenwich ; " 25, Burnham Abbey ; ' 
28, Croydon. Aug. 6, Westminster ; ' Sept. 5-25, Woodstock ; 28, 
Notley. Oct. 1-6, Notley ; 9, Woodstock; 15-28, Woodstock; 
30, Woodstock. Nov. 4, Woodstock.* Dec. 5-11, Woodstock; 
16, Lanthony Abbey (oo. Glouc.) ; 18, Abingdon ; ^ 19-31, Lanthony 
Abbey. 

1501. Jan, 2, 5, Lanthony Abbey ; 9-13, Woodstock. Mar. 21, 
Richmond. April 10, Eltham ; 24-29, Westminster.* May 1, 
Tower of London ; 9, Westminster ; " 29, Lanthony Abbey. June 

4, Lanthony Abbey. July 31, Mile End.' Av^. 2, Westminster ; ' 
7, 14, 20, 21, Lanthony Abbey ; 23, Martyn Abbey ; 26, Lanthony 
Abbey. Sept. 25-Oct. 4, Richmond. Nov. 4-9, Dogmersfield ; * 
10, Baynard's Castle;' 12, London; 14, St. Paul's Cathedral 
(Marriage of Arthur and Katherine); 15, Westminster; 16, Bay- 
nard's Castle ; 17-26, Westminster ; 28-Z>cc. 31, Richmond." 

1502. Jan. 14^25, Richmond.' Feb. 22-April 3, May 27, West- 
minster. June 22-28, Westminster.' July 20, Woodstock.* Au^. 
1-3, Woodstock. Sept. 24, Woodstock ; ^ 28-30, Langley.' Oct. 1, 
Woodstock ; 18, 20, Windsor ; 30-Nov. 28, Westminster. Dec. 21, 
St. Alban's.1 

' Privy Pivrse Expenses. 

' Rymer, Fosdera. 

' Bergenroth, Spanish Calendar. 

* Venetian Calendar. 

6 L. and P. Henry VII. 

' Funeral of Prince Edmund. 

' At Mile End there was a manor house belonging to the Abbots 
of St. Osyth. 

' Meeting with Katherine. 

' After the burning of Sheen the new palace built on the site was 
named Richmond. 

2 D 



418 HENRY VII 

1503. Feb. 2, Barking;' 3-11, Tower of London^ (Death of 
Queen Elizabetli). Mar. 30, Baynard's Castle.^ April 2, St. Paul's 
Cathedral ; 8, Baynard's Castle ; 10, Westminster ; * Windsor.^ 
May 4, Westminster. June 23, Richmond. Jtdi/ 1, Eyton ; 8, Colly 
Weston ; 13, Westminster. Sept. 1, Tutbury; 4, Ashby ; ' 6, Merivale 
Abbey ; 7, Astley ; 23, Speen, Banbury, Langley. Oct. 2, Minster 
Lovell, Abingdon ; 17, Cambridge. 

1504. Jan. 25, Westminster (Opening of Seventh Parliament). 
Aitg. 15, Nottingham Castle.* Feb. %-March 23, Westminster. 
April 23, St. Paul's ; ^ July 8, Westminster ; 10, Eichmond. Aug. 
4, Sheppey Island ; ' 25, Lewes ; 28, Alfold.' Oct. 1, Farnham 
Castle ; « ll-Nov. 1, Richmond.' Nov. 20-Dec. 5, Westminster. 

1505. Jan. 12-20, Wanstead.' Feb. 24-28, Croydon ; 10, 15, 26, 
Canterbury. April 12, Chertsey;' 14, Woking;' 20, Chertsey ;' 
21, Richmond.' May 1-25, Richmond. June 11, Richmond.' 
July 28, Otford (co. Kent) ; Windsor. Aug. 3, Charing ; 4-28, 
Knole. Sept. 13, Cranbourne ; 26-28, Otford. Oct. 15, Reading ; 
17, Windsor. 

1506. Jan. 31-J'e6. 12, Windsor ; » Feb. 12-28, Greenwich. Mar. 
1-2, Windsor.' April 15, Greenwich ; '" 30, London.' May 8, Rich- 
mond ; 10-15, Westminster ; ' 18, Richmond.* June 9, 12, Otford. 
July 23, Lambeth ; 30, Malshanger. Aug. 1, 2, Chichester ; 12, 
Wanstead ; 'Greenwich.' Sept. 16, Guildford." Oct. 1-18, Woking ; ' 
28, Windsor.' Nov. 5-Dec. 15, Westminster.* 

1507- Jan. 28, Westminster. March, Richmond.' April 7, 
Richmond; 11, Westminster;' 15, Richmond;' 20, Woking.* 
Jfay 3, Richmond ; * 11, 20, Westminster.' July 17, Greenwich.' 
Aug. 27-Sept. 9, Woodstock." Sept. 9, 15, Langley;" 16-29, 

' Privy Purse Expenses. 

^ City Chronicle. ' Leland, CoUectanea, iv. 265. 

■* Rymer, Fcedera. 

^ King of Romans installed as Knight of the Garter. 
" Ellis, Letters, III. (1), 117. 
' Bergenroth, Spanish Calendar. 
' This belonged to the Bishops of Winchester. 
^ Visit of Philip of Burgundy. Memorials of Henry VII. (RoUs 
Ser.), 302 aeq. 
" Venetian Gal. 
" L. and P. Henry VII., i. 367 
" Andr6, Vita. 



ITINERARY 419 

Woodstock.! Oct. 1-5, Winchester.' Nov. 1, Richmond; 11, 
Westminster ; 23-25, Richmond ; i5-Dec. 5, Westminster.^ Dec. 
13-18, Tower of London ; ' 16, Wanstead ; Tower of London ; ^ 
21-31, Richmond.' 

1508- Jan. 1-7, Richmond;-' 7-10, Lanthony;^ 11, Chertsey ; 
12, 13, Woking ; 20-31, Richmond. J'ei. l-Mar. 13, Richmond ; 
14, At Bishop of Bath's ; 15-May 10, Greenwich. May 11-15, 
Eltham ; 15, Greenwich. June 14^29, Greenwich ; 30, " At Bishop 
of Bath's." July 1, Mortlake ; 3, Wandsworth ; 7, Richmond, 
Langley ; 13, Windsor, Staines, Wandsworth ; 14, Richmond ; 20, 
Greenwich ; 30, Stratford. Aug. 1-4, Wanstead ; 5, Eltham ; 9, 
Hatfield ; 14, Berking ; 23, Berwick (co. Essex). Nov. 5-7, Green- 
wich. Dec. 21, Richmond. 

1509. Feb. 18, Westminster. March-April, Richmond. April 
21, Richmond (death of the king). 

' Bergenroth, Spa/nish Calendar. ^ Andr^, Vita. 



II 

THE STORY OF PERKIN WARBECK 

Bacon's romantic and circumstantial account of 
Perkin Warbeck's conspiracy long held the field, but 
within the last twenty years it has been replaced 
by a different version based upon Warbeck's public 
confession,! ^mj supported by other contemporary 
evidence which was not available until comparatively 
recently. Dr. Gairdner, who was the first to give the 
revised account, ^ has been followed by Dr. Busch and 
other writers. Bacon's account of the plot suffers 
from the fact that it is practically an elaborate 
embroidery of an originally doubtful statement. Fol- 
lowing Hall, who had enlarged a statement made 
by Poly dor Vergil,' he makes the plot begin with 
Margaret of Burgundy, and says that she set up the 
pretender in the fkst place.* Perkin Warbeck's con- 
fession contradicts this story of the origin of the plot. 
It must be admitted that contemporaries thought 
Margaret originated the whole conspiracy, and Andre's 
account of the affair supports this view ; ^ but the 
mistake can easily be accounted for. Margaret was 

' Hall, Ghronide, 488-9 ; City Chronide, ed. Kingsford, pp. 
219-21. 
^ The Story of Perkin Wa/rheck and Henry VII. 
' Hall, Chronicle, 462; Polydor Vergil, Historioe AngliccB, 688. "* 
* Bacon, Works, ed. Spedding, vi. 107. 
s Andr6, Fiio,^65-7,|72. 



THE STORY OF PERKIN WARBECK 421 

Warbeck's most prominent supporter in all but the 
preliminary stages of the plot. It was not until 
Warbeck reached her court that he became a pro- 
minent figure in Europe, and the knowledge of her 
help in its notorious stages and of the value of her 
constant championship was converted into a theory 
that she knew and prompted its obscure beginnings. 

The fact that the story popularised by Bacon con- 
flicted with the well-known confession of Perkin 
Warbeck was explained by two alternative sugges- 
tions, the fh-st being that the confession was silent 
upon Margaret's share in the conspiracy because 
Henry wished to spare her. But this conflicts with 
evidence that was not available when it was made. 
Henry showed no signs of wishing to spare the 
duchess. On the contrary, he made Warbeck repeat, 
in the presence of the Spanish ambassador, his 
assertion of the duchess's later complicity.^ The 
second suggestion is that the whole confession was a 
bogus affair, forged by Henry and circulated for his 
own motives. This is an absolutely gratuitous sug- 
gestion without a shred of evidence to support it, and 
it is contradicted by the first-rate evidence of the City 
Chronicle. The argument that, as the confession was 
very useful to Henry, he therefore invented it, is a 
curious instance of mistrust of the king, throwing 
suspicion on all his actions. As a matter of fact, 
the genuineness of the confession has been triumph- 
antly vindicated. A search in the archives of Toumai 
has brought to light evidence that confirms its accu- 
racy in the most trifling details.^ Further, its general 
tenor is supported by two of Perkin's own letters 
that have survived, one written to his mother, the 

• Bergenroth, Cal. of Spanish Papers, pp. 185-7. 
" Gairdner, Perkin Warbeck, 265-9. 



422 HENRY VII 

other to Isabella of Spain,^ and by other contem- 
porary evidence.^ 

Bacon's suggestion that Warbeck was an illegiti- 
mate son of Edward IV. must also be criticised.^ 
It is based upon a misconception, originating with 
Speed, who misunderstood Bernard Andre's assertion 
that Warbeck was brought into England by a con- 
verted Jew to whom Edward had been godfather. 
Andre further relates that the boy had been brought 
up at the court of Edward IV. by this Jew, his master, 
and there learnt how to pose as the young Duke of 
York. This account is not found elsewhere, is con- 
tradicted by Warbeck's confession, conflicts with that 
given by Vergil and Hall, and is probably luireliable. 

1 Qairdner, op. cit., 329; Archceologia, xxvii. 156-8, 199; Ber- 
genroth, No. 85. 

" Letters and Papers, Henry VII. (Rolls Ser.), ii. 294; Halliwell, 
Letters, i. 177. 

^ Bacon, op. cit., 133. 



Ill 

THE STAR CHAMBER 

The controversy that long existed as to the origin 
of the Star Chamber may now be regarded as settled. 
Many points, no doubt, are still obscure, but they 
are not of the first importance, and the decision that 
most modern historians have arrived at is supported 
by evidence obtained from a study of selections of 
Star Chamber cases.^ The view prevalent in the 
seventeenth century, when the Star Chamber with 
all its sins on its head was abolished by the Long 
Parliament, was that the Star Chamber originated 
with the Act of 1487, that its authority was derived 
from that Act, and its competence limited to cases 
named in it. Popular indignation, already strong, 
was inflamed by the theory that the court had far 
outrun its legal powers. This view has now been 
proved to be unhistorical. Like "its twin sister 
the Court of Chancery," the Star Chamber was an 
expression in a specialised form of the judicial autho- 
rity of the king in council. Such authority was of 
immemorial prescriptive origin, and from the reign 
of Edward IIL the name Star Chamber was occa- 
sionally applied to the council when sitting in its 
judicial capacity.^ The famous Act of Henry VIL 

^ Sta/r Chamber Cases (ed. Leadam), Selden Society; (ed. Brad- 
ford), Somerset Reo. Soo. 

^ Recent researches have thrown light on the work of the Star 
Chamber in 1485 and 1486. The Liber Intrationum (Harl. MS., 

428 



424 HENRY VII 

therefore set up no new court, and did not touch the 
judicial powers inherent in the Star Chamber. It 
simply gave special summary powers to a small com- 
mittee of the council, reinforced it with outsiders 
possessing legal experience, and prepared it to deal 
with a special class of cases that menaced the peace 
and safety of the kingdom. This committee con- 
tinued its beneficent work all through the reign of 
Henry VII. ; its small size and wide powers rendering 
it specially swift and efficient. The elasticity of the 
court in its early days was remarkable. The 
members nominated in 1487 were varied by later 
statutes,! a,nd in practice convenience rather than 
form dictated the membership. The theory that the 
chancellor, treasurer, and lord privy seal were the 
only judges has been replaced by the view that all 
members of the council present gave sentence as 
judges, the common law judges acting as their 
assessors.^ In the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII. 
disorder had been stamped out, the work of the 
special court was done, and, at some unascertained 
date before the end of the reign, it was merged into 
the general body of the Star Chamber. The larger 
body, however, clung to the special powers conferred 
on its committee by statute, especially the power of 
examining defendants on oath, though it naturally 

No. 305, Alt. 2) contains notes of the business transacted in the court 
during these two years. The king often sat there in person. In 
1486 the Star Chamber passed a resolution concerning rioting by 
the servants of noblemen and gentlemen (Lansdowne MSS., No. 83, 
Art. 72). See C. L. Scofield, The Star Ghamher. 

1 By 11 Hen. VII., cap. 25, the clerk of the rolls is added, and 
the lord privy seal, the bishop, and the temporal lord of the council 
are omitted. 

" Year Booh, 6 Hen. VII., fo. 13. See Leadam, Star Chamber 
Cases, Intro. I. xlvi.-xlvii., for a full discussion of this intricate 
question. 



THE STAR CHAMBER 425 

refused to confine itself to the cases assigned by 
Parliament to that committee, insisting on the wide 
and indeterminate sphere of jurisdiction of its parent 
the council. At the same time, the Privy Council 
was exercising similar judicial functions, though the 
distinction between it and the Star Chamber, if not 
great, was recognisable. To put it briefly, though 
the personnel of both courts was almost identical, 
the Privy Council heard the more definitely political 
offences, and the Star Chamber the legal offences ; 
the former sat in private and at any time, the latter 
in public and in term time only ; the latter had the 
help of legal experts, who were not members of the 
council.! The Star Chamber, therefore, was not of 
statutory origin, and the Act of 1487 was only an 
episode in its history. It was, however, a very im- 
portant episode practically, because it gave the court 
statutory authority to examine witnesses on oath and 
issue summary writs, and historically because it led 
to confusion as to the origin of the famous court. 

1 All these differences brought the Star Chamber more into line 
with the ordinary law courts. 



IV 

HENRY VII. AND JUANA OF CASTILE 

A SERIES of documents have been discovered by 
Bergenroth which make it very doubtful whether 
Juana of Castile ever lost her reason. He suggests 
that she retained her sanity, even after years of 
barbarously close imprisonment, and that she was 
quite sane at the time when Henry was negotiating 
for a marriage with her. His view is that Ferdinand 
deliberately circtdated accounts of her insanity, him- 
self manufacturing proof of it in order to prevent 
her from governing Castile. Bergenroth's researches 
make it clear that Ferdinand did not inform Henry 
of the alleged nature of Juana's malady until some 
months after the negotiations were opened, and 
that as soon as he was informed of it he withdrew 
his suit. Though Henry is not entirely exonerated, 
the blackest stain on his character is removed.^ 

The extent of Juana's affliction — if it existed at 
this early date — was certainly exaggerated by 
Ferdinand, and Henry may have suspected, when 
the first sinister rumours reached him, that they 
were deliberately spread abroad by Ferdinand to 
prevent Juana from governing Castile. When 
she visited Henry's court in 1505 she was a very 
handsome woman, without a trace of the terrible 
malady which is said to have developed so rapidly 

' Bergenroth, Oal. of Span. Papers, Supplementary Volume, pp 41-62. 

426 



HENRY VII. AND JUANA OF CASTILE 427 

after her husband's death. When in Flanders she 
had shown great patience in a difficult situation. 
The Venetian ambassador certainly thought her 
husband and father were plotting against her, and 
that they spread abroad these rumours because they 
had found her very intractable and reluctant to 
surrender her rights. In June 1506 Ferdinand and 
Philip had signed a treaty pledging themselves to 
resist any attempt of Juana's to meddle in the govern- 
ment of Castile. Later Ferdinand protested against 
this treaty, using language quite inconsistent with 
his daughter's insanity. He spoke of helping Juana 
to recover her liberty and prerogatives, and, writing 
to Katherine just after Philip's death, he spoke of 
Juana's " retirement," not her incapacity, as the reason 
for her not sharing in the government. 

This was the state of affairs when Henry made 
his first proposal for Juana's hand, and Ferdinand 
wrote in reply that he did not yet know whether 
his daughter was inclined to marry again — ^not a 
word about her alleged madness — ^but that if she 
did he would rather she married Henry than any 
prince in Christendom. But on reflection, Ferdi- 
nand saw the danger of allowing a marriage between 
Juana and Henry, and he seems to have resolved on 
reviving for his own purposes the dark stories he and 
Philip had spread about before. His letter to de 
Puebla has been lost, but on 15th April 1507, the latter 
wrote to his master describing an interview he had 
had with the king at Richmond. This letter, which 
proves that de Puebla had said something to Henry 
throwing doubt upon Juana's state of mind, is im- 
portant as the first evidence of Henry's knowledge 
of the hints that Ferdinand was circulating. De 
Puebla reported that he told the king that with such 



428 HENRY VII 

a husband as Henry she would recover sooner than 
with any other, and that if her infirmity proved 
incurable, it would be no inconvenience if she were 
to live in England, " For it seems to me that they 
do not much mind her infirmity,^ since I told them 
that it does not prevent her from bearing children." 
Nothing is here or elsewhere written to Henry that 
the queen was incurably insane. Katherine's letters 
to her father, giving messages from Henry, show not 
the slightest indication that either of them thought 
she was insane. Two letters written by Ferdinand 
to Katherine in June do not allude to any infirmity 
of Juana's, and expressed Ferdinand's intention of 
learning his daughter's wishes and inclination with 
regard to the match. He showed strange anxiety 
that there should be no negotiations with Juana 
directly while he was absent from Castile, but wrote 
of the comfort it would be to him to leave his daughter 
and all his kingdoms under Henry's care and pro- 
tection. In September negotiations as to whether 
Henry's proposed bride should live in England or 
Castile were going on, and in one of de Puebla's 
letters there is the often-quoted phrase, " The council 
of the King of England desires extremely that this 
match should be concluded even if worse things 
should be said about the infirmity {dolencia) of the 
daughter of your highness." (Bergenroth trans- 
lates "dolencia" as insanity, which seems to be 
unusual.) Katherine's letters to Ferdinand and to 
Juana make it incredible that she could have been 
informed of her sister's alleged madness, and it would 
have been strange if Ferdinand told Henry what 
he had concealed from Katherine. She wrote to 

1 The words used to describe her state are " enfermedad," 
" dolencia," which are to be translated sickness, infirmity. 



HENRY VII. AND JUANA OF CASTILE 429 

Juana in October telling her how much Henry had 
been attracted by her when she visited England, 
and how reluctant he had been to let her go, until 
his council advised him, " as he is a very passionate 
Jdng," not to come between husband and wife. She 
adds some elaborate praise of Henry : " He is a 
prince who is feared and esteemed by the whole of 
Christendom on account of his wisdom, vast wealth, 
and having at his command a great force of well- 
trained troops. Above all he is endowed with the 
highest virtues. If Juana marries him she will be- 
come the most illustrious and the most powerful 
queen in the world." Katherine concludes by calling 
God to witness that the letter expressed what she 
genuinely wished. 

Things were going too far for Ferdinand, who 
seems to have made up his mind to forward reports 
which would put an end to Henry's suit for the 
heiress of Castile. He wrote to de Puebla telling 
him that Juana still took about with her the corpse 
of her late husband, and would not permit it to be 
buried. This report was quite effective ; though we 
have no actual proof that Ferdinand's story was 
conununicated to Henry, there is a strong presump- 
tion that it was, as the wording of the King of Spain's 
letter to de Puebla suggests that he intended it for 
transmission to the king. Something certainly occurred 
to make Henry give up the idea of a marriage with 
Juana about this time. He had sent John Stile 
to Castile with letters for Juana in the autumn of 
1507 — the tenor of Stile's instructions makes it in- 
credible that Henry was knowingly wooing a mad 
woman — ^but nothing more is heard of the proposal. 
It was reported in the spring of 1508 that nothing 
more would be heard of the match. Henry seems to 



430 HENRY VII 

have had more scruples than he is commonly credited 
with. 

The unhappy Juana was kept a close prisoner as 
long as her father lived, and lived her life of misery 
forgotten by Europe or only remembered as the 
" mad queen of Castile." Bergenroth's researches 
seem to prove that she never lost her reason, in spite 
of shameful brutality and neglect, until just the very 
end of her life. Her obstinacy and dislike of religious 
observance may have seemed like madness to the 
piety of Spain and of the Inquisition. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 

I. Records 

Unfortunately there is as yet no printed calendar of the 
Patent and Close Rolls of the reign. The two volumes of 
Materials for the Reign of Henry VII. (ed. Campbell, Rolls 
Series) supply this deficiency for the years 1485 to 1488. 
The same collection prints extracts from the Roll of the 
Great Wardrobe and other Wardrobe Accounts. There is 
no calendar of State Papers for the period. The nearest 
approach to it is to be found in the two volumes of Letters 
and Papers relating to the Reigns of Richard III. and 
Henry VII. (ed. Gairdner, Rolls Series), in which many of 
the king's letters to his ambassadors, to foreign princes, to 
the Pope, to his family, servants, and subjects, are printed, 
together with many other diplomatic documents. The 
Appendix to the second volume contains brief notes from 
the Patent Rolls. Other royal letters may be found in the 
collections edited by Ellis and by Halliwell, in Letters of Royal 
Ladies (ed. Everett Green), and in Christchurch Letters (Cam- 
den Society). The Calendar of Spanish Papers (ed. Bergen- 
roth, vol. i. and supplementary volume), and the Calendar 
of Venetian Papers (ed. Brown, vol. i.), contain a mass of 
diplomatic correspondence which is invaluable for the 
history of the foreign policy of the reign. Rymer's Fcedera 
(vols, xii., xiii.) gives the text of treaties and other diplo- 
matic documents. The Memorials of Henry VII. (ed. 
Gairdner, Rolls Series) contains, in addition to Andre's 
works, accounts by the Richmond Herald of several em- 



432 HENRY VII 

bassies of which he was a member (including the well-known 
report on the Queen of Naples), and of the visit of the Arch- 
duke Philip, together with a report by John StUe of his 
mission to Spain, and a series of Spanish despatches. 

None of the general accounts of the reign have been 
printed, and very few have been calendared. The Privy 
Purse Expenses, printed by Bentley in his Excerpta Historica, 
is an extract from, rather than a transcript of, the king's 
private accounts. Some of the queen's expenditure is 
revealed in the Privy Purse Expenses of Elizabeth of York 
(ed. Nicholas). Oppenheim's Naval Accounts, and the reports 
of expenditure by Hattcliffe in Ireland (printed in Letters 
and Papers of Henry VII.), are almost the only other books 
in this class. 

Little has been done towards printing the legal pro- 
ceedings of the reign. The Year Book of Henry VII. 
(ed. 1585), the calendar of the Baga de Secretis (which 
appears in the Thirty-seventh Report of the Deputy-Keeper 
of the Public Records), the collections of Star Chamber Cases, 
printed by the Selden Society, the Somerset Record Society, 
and the Yorks Archaeological Society, and the Select Cases in 
the Court of Requests (Selden Society), are the chief sources 
of information. 

For ecclesiastical history, Wilkins' Concilia (vol. iii.) prints 
the records of the proceedings of Convocation, with epis- 
copal letters, and so on. The Register of Bishop Fox 
(Camden Society), the Visitation of Norwich, and the Visitation 
of Southwell, are also useful. 

The calendars of Carem Papers (especially the Book of 
Howth), and the Calendar of Documents relating to Scotland, 
are the authorities for the king's relations with Ireland and 
Scotland. The Parliamentary history of the reign is to be 
found in the Rotuli Parliamentorum (Rolls Series, vol. vi.), 
the Statutes of the Realm (vol. ii.), and the Irish Statutes. 
From the mass of published borough records the Letter Books 
(ed. Sharpe), York Records (ed. Da vies). Records of the Borough 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 433 

of Leicester (ed. Bateson), and Ricart's Calendar of Bristol 
(ed. Toulmin Smith), may be mentioned as specially im- 
portant for this reign. The Will of Henry VII., which has 
been printed, is also valuable. 

II. Chronicles and Contemporary Writers 

By far the most important is Polydor Vergil's famous 
work Anglicoe HistoricB Lihri XXVII., the twenty-sixth book 
of which contains a spirited account of the king's reign, 
written by an Italian who was in England from 1502 
onwards. He made a magnificent use of his opportunities, 
and the greater part of his work, together with his estimate 
of the king's character, stands unchallenged. Bernard 
Andre's work, the Vita Hennci Sepiimi [Memorials of 
Henry VII., Rolls Series), is of much less value. Though a 
contemporary, and, by his position as poet laureate, closely 
connected with the court, his account is confused, inaccurate, 
and imaginative, written in an adulatory strain, and inter- 
larded with apocryphal oratory. The earlier part of his 
Annales (the account of the years 1504-5) is the usual 
rambling panegyric, the latter part (the history of the years 
1507-8) is much less ambitious and more usefol, containing 
much valuable information. 

Hall's Chronicle is practically a translation of Polydor 
Vergil's book, but contains some additional matter. The City 
Chronicle, printed in Chronicles of London (ed. C. L. Kingsford), 
Stow's Chronicle, the Chronicle of Calais (Camden Society), 
the Grey Friars' Chronicle (Camden Society) Roger Fabyan's 
Chronicle, and the Cambrian Register are all valuable. A 
very interesting account of England, from the point of view 
of the foreign observer, appears in the Italian Relation 
(Camden Society). In Leland's Collectanea (vols. iv. and v.) 
are printed contemporary accounts of many of the great 
ceremonies of the reign. This may be supplemented by the 
Rutland Papers, the Paston Letters, the Trevelyan Papers, and 

2 E 



434 HENRY VII 

the Plumpton Correspondence. The Cely Papers throw light 
on the wool trade, and the Utopia of Sir Thomas More 
gives a picture of England at the beginning of the new 
century. The Pilgrimage of Sir Richard Guyldford (Camden 
Society) and the Hardtvicke Papers are of minor importance. 

Contemporary ballads which throw light on popular 
feeling are the Song of the Lady Bessy and the Ballad of 
Bosworth Field (printed among the Percy MSS. (ed. Hales 
and Fumivall), Dunbar's Thistle and the Rose, Alexander 
Barclay's Ship of Fools. Les Douze Triomphes de Henry VII., 
a French poem attributed to Bernard Andre, is printed in 
the Memorials of Henry VII. John Fisher's Sermon on the 
Death of Henry VII., and his Month's Mind of the Lady 
Margaret (printed by the Early English Text Society) are 
valuable 

HI. Later Writers 

Bacon's Life of Henry VII. occupies an unique position 
both for its unrivalled style and for the fact that it gives 
an account of the reign which was copied by all writers 
until the nineteenth century. 

Other works of importance are : — Dudley, Tree of the 
Commonwealth; Walter Harris, Hibemica ; Herbert, Life of 
Henry VIII.; Hutton, Battle of Bosworth Field; Pinkerton, 
History of Scotland ; Speed, History of England, 16II ; Starkey, 
Dialogue; Zurita, Anales de la Corona de Aragon, I6IO. 

IV. Modern Writers 

Of modern writers, by far the most important are Dr. 
Gairdner and Dr. Busch. 

Dr. Gairdner in his Henry VII. (English Statesmen Series), 
his Story of Perkin Warheck, and his introductions to the 
Memorials of Henry VII., and to the Letters and Papers, gave 
the history of the reign in the light of modern research for 
the first time. 



BIBLIOGRAPHY 435 

Dr. Busch's England under the Tudors (vol. i.) is invaluable 
for its very full references, notes, and criticisms of autho- 
rities. Dr. Stubbs' Lectures on Medieval and Modem History 
contain a brilliant sketch of the reign. 

Other works of importance are : — Anderson, Origin of 
Commerce; Archceologia (vols, xxvii., Iv.) ; Bagwell, Ireland 
under the Tudors ; Biddle, Memoirs of Sebastian Cabot ; Bourne, 
English Seamen under the Tudors ; Clowes, Royal Navy ; Cooper, 
Margaret, Countess of Richmond; Cunningham, Growth of 
English Industry and Commerce ; Dictionary of National Biog- 
raphy; English Historical Review (vols, iii., vi., viii., xiv., xxii., 
xxiv.); Fisher, Early Tudors (Political History of England); 
Fortescue, History of British Army ; Froude, Eife and Times of 
Erasmus; Gairdner, Cambridge Modern History (vol. i. ch. 24); 
Gasquet, Eve of the Reformation ; Gross, Gild Merchant ; 
Halsted, Life of Margaret Beaufort; Hakluyt, Voyages; 
Hallam, Constitutional History ; Hudson, Star Chamber ; Innes, 
Trvelve Tudor Statesmen; Ives, Select Papers ; Maitland, Lec- 
tures on Constitutional History; Molinet, Chroniques, 1476— 
1566; Mullinger, University of Cambridge; Nichols, Epistles 
of Erasmus; Pollard, Factors in Modern History; Reeves, 
History of English Lam (ed. Finlason) ; Thorold Rogers, 
History of Agriculture and Prices; Scofield, Star Chamber; 
Seebohm, Oxford Reformers ; Smith, History of Waterford ; 
Stephen, History of Criminal Lars; Stubbs, Constitutional 
History ; Traill, Social England (vol. ii.) ; Tytler, History of 
Scotland; Ware, Annates. 



INDEX 



Abduction of heiresses, 257 
Abingdon, 54, 411, 413-4, 416-8 
Abingdon, abbey, 412 
Abingdon, abbot, 75, 112 
Acton Turville, 415 
Agriculture, 185-7 
Agriculture and Prices, History 

of, 435 
Aids, 272, 274 
Ainsworth, Henry, 84 
Albany, Duke of, 137 
Albret, Lord d', 73, 82, 92, 94, 

100 
Alcock, John, Bp. of Ely, see 

Ely 
Alexander VI., Pope, 125, 127, 

229-30, 140-1, 259, 330 
Alfonzo, King of Naples, (1494), 

126 
Aliens, subsidy from, 68 
Alnwick, 415 
Alresford, 415, 418 
Amboise, Cardinal d', 367 
America, North, 320, 323-4 
Amersham, 311 
Anales de la Corona de Aragon, 

434 
Anderson, Adam, 435 
Andover, 417 
Andr^, Bernard, 34, 313, 431, 

433-4 
AngoulSme, Margaret of, see 

Margaret 
Angus, Earl of, 134, 145 
Anne (Nevil, of Warwick), 

Que en of England, 14 
Anne (of Brittany), Queen of 



437 



France, 7, 72-3, 77-8, 82-5, 
92, 94, 96-7, 99-100, 102-3, 
104 n., 203 
Anne (of Beaujeu), Regent of 

France, 13, 72 
Antwerp, 105, 118, 165, 168-9, 

172, 174, 227, 233-4 
Aragon, see Spain, and Ferdi- 
nand (of Aragon), King of 
Spain 
Architecture, 314^5 
Armagh, Archbp. of, 294 
Army, 43, 283-4 ; bibliography, 

Arran, Earl of, 364 

Art, 314 

Arthur, Prince of Wales, birth, 

56-7 ; created Prince of Wales, 

413 ra., death, 230-1, 387 ; 

marriage, 79-82, 90, 102, 136, 

204^9, 211-2, 216-25, 328; 

regent, 106 
Artillery, 283-4, 304 
Arundel, 413 
Ashby, 418 
Ashford, 413 
Astley, 418 

Astwood, , 123, 212 

Atherstone, 19 

Attainders, 47-9, 67-8, 123, 255 
Attwater, John, see Walter, John 
Audley, Jas. Touchet, Lord, 148, 

150-51 
Ayala, Pedro de, 144-5, 151-2, 

154-6, 201, 209, 321, 369 
Aylesbury, 416 
Aynsworth, , 79 



488 



INDEX 



Ayton, castle, 153 
Ayton, treaty of, 154 

Bacon, Francis, Lord Verulam, 

434 
Baga de Secretia, 432 
Bagwell, Eichard, 435 
Bail, 257 

Banbury, 414-6, 418 
Bangor,' Bp. of, 297 
Barcelona, treaty of, 119 
Barclay, Alex., 434 
Barking, 418 
Basingstoke, 417 
Bath, 415-6; Prior of, 310 
Bath, Order of the, 40 
Bath, Philibert de Shaunde, 

Earl of, 15, 42, 416 
Bath and Wells, Bp. of, 416 n., 

419 
Battle, 413 
Baynard's Castle (London), 315, 

417-8 
Beaufort, Marg., see Margaret 

(Beaufort) Countess of Rich- 
mond and Derby 
Beaulieu, 157, 415, 417 
Beaumont, John, 68 
Bedford, Duke of, 41, 43, 54, 64, 

106, 291, 297 
Beggars, 265 
Belknap, Edward, 44 
Benefit of clergy, 26, 257-8 
Benevolences, 101, 134, 255, 276 
Berkeley, Sir William, 36 
Berking, 419 
Bermondsey Abbey, 60 
Berwick (Essex), 419 
Berwick (on Tweed), 142 ; 

Castle, 153^, 280 
Bewdley, 211, 415 
Bewley, 415, 417 
Bibliography, 431-5 
Biddle, Richard, 435 
Birmingham, 55, 411 
Bisham, 415 
Bisham Abbey, 215 



Blackheath, 416; battle, 150 

BUckling, 416 

Blois, treaty of, 341 ra. 

Blount, Jas., 12 ; Will., 44 

Bodmin, 156 

Bodrugan, Sir Henry, 59, 68 

Bodyguard, see Yeoman of the 

Guard 
Boleyn, Sir Thos., 416 n. 
Bordefeld (Broadfield), 416 
Bosworth, Market, 19 
Bosworth Field, battle of, 19-22, 

411; bibliography, 434 
BothweU,Lord, 134-5, 144, 226». 
Boulogne, 97, 107, 109 
Bourbon, Duke of, 136 
Bourchier, Sir Chas., 13 ; Hen., 

Earl of Essex, see Essex ; Sir 

John, 9, 44, 51 ; Sir Thos., 

19 
Bourke, Lord, 295 
Bourne, Henry Fox, 435 
Brackenbury, Sir Rob., 22 
Brampton, Sir Edw., 114 
Brandon, Thos., 44, 62 n. ; Sir 

Thos., 234, 372 ; WiU., 22 
Brandon Perry, 41 1 
Bray, Sir Reginald, 15, 43, 148, 

238, 416 n. ; Richard, 6 
Brazil, 319 
Brecknock, 8 
Brest, 105 
Bridgwater, 416 
Bristol, 56, 148, 173, 319-23, 

411, 414-5, 433 
Brittany, 4, 72-8, 82-7, 91-103, 

105, 107-9, 203 
Brittany, Anne of, see Anne (of 

Brittany), Queen of France 
Brittany, Francis, Duke of, 4, 

7-11, 72-7 
Broke, 415 
Broughton, Sir Thos., 61, 63, 65, 

68 
Bruges, 168, 174 
Buckenham Castle (Norf.), 416 
Buckingham, 414, 416 



INDEX 



439 



Buckingham, Edw. Stafford, 

Duke of, 42, 82, 214, 246-7, 

372-3, 380 
Henry Stafford, Duke of, 2, 

6-8, 25 
Burgh, Hubert, 115 
Burgundy, 73, 83, 92, 204 ; trade 

with, 119, 165-7, 176 
Marg., Dowager Duchess of, 

see Margaret 
Philip, Duke of, see Philip, 

Archduke 
Burnham Abbey, 417 
Burton, 415 
Bury, 416 
Bury St. Edmunds, 62, 413; 

Abbey, 412 
Busch, Dr., 434-5 
Butler, Thos., Earl of Ormond, 

see Ormond ; family, 289, 291, 

296, 298 

Cabot, John, 319-22 ; Sebastian, 
198, 322, 436 

Oadwallader, 17-8, 56, 384 

Calais, 51, 92-3, 96-8, 106-7, 
118, 165-6, 168-9, 183 n., 218, 
414, 417 ; Chronicle of, 433 

Calendar of Documents relating to 
Scotkmd, 432 

Calendar of Spanish Papers, 431 

Calendar of Venetian Papers, 431 

Cambrai, League of, 367-8 

Cwmbrian Register, 433 

Cambridge, 53, 62, 274 n., 412, 
418; colleges founded, 306 

Canterbury, 311, 411-18 ; Arch- 
bishop's palace at Charing, 
413 m. 

Canterbury, John Morton, 
Archbp. of (Bp. of Ely), ac- 
count of, 237-8 ; Archbp. of 
Canterbury, 43 ; at coronation 
of Henry VII., 41 ; Cornish 
rebellion aimed at, 148 ; Duke 
of Buckingham influenced, 
5 ; Henry of Kichmond 



warned, 11 ; monastic reform 
pressed, 309-10 ; rebellion 
against Rich. III. fostered, 9 ; 
speeches in Pari., 67, 147 

Canterbury, Will. Warham, 
Archbp. of, 227, 309, 325 

Capell, William, 276 n. 

Cardigan, 16 

Ca/rew Papers, 432 

Carlisle Castle, 280 

Carlow Castle, 298 

Carmarthen, church, 391 n. 

Carmeliano, Pet., 312, 368 

Carvel of Eu, ship, 282 re. 

Castello, Adrian de, 312 

Castile, 78, 334-6, 337, 348, 351, 
356, 365, 367 

Castles, 37 

Cattle, 187 

Caxton, William, 317 

Cecily (of York), 67, 99 

Cely Pampers, 434 

Cerdagne, 80-3, 90, 99 n., 110 

Chambre, John a, 87-8 

Chandew, Lord, see Bath, Phili- 
bert Shaunde, Earl of 

Charing, 413, 416, 418 

Charles VIII., King of Prance, 
Breton war, 84, 95,98 n., 100-1, 
103 ; death, 202-3 ; Flemish 
rebels' relations with, 94 ; 
Italian wars, 125-7, 140, 180, 
202 ; marriage, 103 ; negotia- 
tions with England (1496), 
136-7 ; Richmond (Hen. VII.) 
assisted by, 9, 12-3, 15, 32; 
treaties with England and 
Spain (1492), 107-11; War- 
beck in relation to, 113, 116, 
121, 125, 137 

Charles (V., Roman Emperor), 
Archduke, 349, 353, 355, 
365-6 

Chertsey, 411-2, 418-9 ; mon- 
astery, 411, 415 

Chesney, Sir John, 43, 57, 91 

Chester, 80, 204, 415 ; Castle, 270 



440 



INDEX 



Ohesterford, 412 

Chichester, 412, 418 

Chipping Norton, 415 

Christchurch, 415 

Christohurch Monastery (South- 
wark), 411 

Church of England, The, 31, 37, 
249, 307-12, 432 ; grants and 
subsidies, 86, 134, 147 ; Papal 
tax, 230 

Cinque Ports, 165 

Cirencester, 416 ; abbey, 415 

Gity Chronicle, 433 

Clarence, George, Duke of, 2, 
291 

Claude of France, Princess, 
365 

Cleymound, Kobert, 212-3 

Cliflford, Sir Eobert, 122-4 

Cloth trade, 105, 165-71, 177, 
182-5 

Clowes, W. L., 435 

Coinage, see currency 

Coiners, 191 

Colchester, 53, 412-3 

Colet, John, 307, 309 

Collectanea, 433 

Colly Weston, 236, 414-6, 418 

Colonisation, 323 

Columbus, Barth., 318 ; Chris., 
318-9 

Combermere Abbey, 415 

Commerce, 27, 161-95; biblio- 
graphy, 435 ; royal specula- 
tions, 275 ; Star Chamber's 
jurisdiction, 262 

Commons, House of, 253-4 

Concarneau, 92, 94, 102 

Concilia, 432 

Concordia, Lionel, Bp. of, 96-7 

Concressault, 137 

Conway, Sir Hugh, 6, 35 n., i:4t, 
53 n., 297-8 

Cooper, C. H., 435 

Corfe Castle, 415 

Cork, 113, 115, 131, 155, 303-4 

Corn, 187 



Cornbury, 416 

Cornwall, 80, 204 j duchy, 47 ; 

rebellions, 147-52, 155-8 
Coronation, 40-3, 68-9 
Council, 43-5 
Council, Great, 101, 146 
Courtenay, Sir Edw., see Devon, 

Edw. Courtenay, Earl of ; 

Lord William, 228 
Coventry, 62, 64, 371, 392 n., 

412, 414 
Cranbourne, 418 

Cressyner, , 123 

Crime, 26-7, 256-60 
Criminal appeals, 266-7 
Croft, 412 
Crown, defects and stops in the 

blood annulled by, 48 n. ; 

increase in power of, under 

Henry VIL, 248-50 ; king de 

facto, 133 ; succession to, 28- 

31, 45-7 
Crown lands, 47, 270-2, 277 
Croydon, 411-2, 416-8 ' 
Crusade, 228-30, 362-3 
Cunningham, Dr., 435 
Currency, 190-1 
Curzon, Sir Eobert, 226 
Customs, 37, 166, 183, 272 

Dalb, 16 

Dantzig, trade with, 172, 174 

Dartford, 414, 416 

Daubeney, Lord, 43, 93, 98, 145, 

149-50, 157; Sir Giles, 9; 

WUliam, 123 
Deal, 127 

Dego, the jester, 383 
Denmark, 139, 353 ; trade with, 

173 
Derby, 415 
Derby, Thos. Stanley, Earl of 

(Lord Stanley), 4, 10, 17-22, 

35 n., 40-1, 43, 415 n. 
Dereham, East, 411 
Desmond, Earl of, 115, 155-6, 

295, 298, 300, 306 



INDEX 



441 



Devon, Edward Oourtenay, Earl 

of, 9, 40, 43, 64 
Dialogue, 434 
Dick, the fool, 383 
Diplomatic service, 316 
Discovery, voyages of, 317-24 
Dixmude, 92-3 
Docks, dry, 283 
Dogmersfield, 222, 417 
Dominicans' Provincial arrested, 

123 
Doncaster, 53, 55, 411 
Donnington, 417 
Dorset, Marquis of, 9, 13, 44, 

51, 62 ; Marchioness of, 57 
Douze Triormphes de Henry VII., 

Les, 434 
Dover, 106, 412, 414, 417 
Downham, 411 
Drogheda, 293, 298 
Drummond, Lady Marg., 225-6 
Drury, Robert, 253 
Dublin, 63, 292-3 
Dublin,"Walter,Archbp.of,295-6 
Dudley, Edm., 44, 253, 276-8, 

371 n., 434 
Dunbar, William, 434 
Durham, 412 
Durham, county of, subsidy of 

1489, 87-8 
Durham, Richard Pox, Bp. of, 

152-3, 288 
Dynham, Lord, 43 

Early Tudors, 435 

Edgcote, 416 

Edgecombe, Pet., 44 ; Sir Rich., 

9, 35 n., 43, 75, 84, 92, 293^ 
Edmund, Prince, birth, 416; 

death, 219 n. ; funeral, 417 n. 
Edward IV., 4, 422 
Edward V., U6 
Edward VI., title of Lambert 

Simnel, see Simnel 
Edward, Prince of Wales, 3 
Egremont, Lord, 137-8; Sir 

John, 88 



Eleanor, daughter of Archduke 
Philip, 228, 333, 339 

Elizabeth (of York), Queen, 63, 
67, 376, 382 ; account of, 386- 
9 ; children, see Arthur, 
Prince of Wales : Edmund, 
Prince : Henry, Prince of 
Wales : Margaret, Queen of 
Scotland : Mary, Princess ; 
claims to the crown ignored, 
47; coronation^ 41 n., 57, 68-9; 
death, 235-6 ; imprisonment, 
33-^ ; marriage, 7, 9, 14^5, 31, 
35, 50-2, 312; Privy Purse 
Expenses, 432 ; Queen Dowa- 
gers lands granted to, 60 n., 
68 n. ; right of action, 68 n. 

Elizabeth (Woodville), Queen, 
6, 10, 13, 60-1, 386 

Elsing, 416-7 

Eltham, 413, 415, 417, 419 

Ely, 411, 413 

, John Alcock, Bp. of, 306 

, John Morton, Bp. of, see 

Canterbury, John Morton, 
Archbp. of 

Place, 415 

Employment, regulation of, 193 

Empson, Sir Richard, 253, 272, 
276-8, 371 n. 

Enclosures, 187 «., 262 

Enfield Chase, 383, 413 n. 

England under the Tudors, 435 

English Sea/men under the Tudors, 
435 

Erasmus, 309, 313, 435 

Bsher, 412 

Esquerdes, Lord d', 92-3, 107 

Esse.x, Earl of, 41, 44, 214 

Estrada, Duke of, 232, 333 

Estrete, John, 294 

Staples, treaty of, 109, 111, 203 

Eve of the Reformation, 435 

Evesham, 415 

Ewelme, 414-5 ; manor, 413 

Excommunication, 52 n. 

Exeter, 156, 158, 254 n., 416 



442 



INDEX 



Exeter, Eich. Fox, Bp. of, 9, 12, 

22 n., 36, 41, 43 
Eyton, 418 

Pabtan, Roger, 433 

Factors in Modern History, 435 

Palmoutli, 344 

Farnham, nr. Guildford, 148 

Farnham Castle, 418 

Faversham Abbey, 415-6 

Ferdinand (of Aragon), King of 
Spain, Breton marriage for 
Don Juan suggested, 96 ; 
Castilian policy, 334-5, 337, 
348-9, 351-2, 356, 365, 367 ; 
Columbus patronised, 318-9 ; 
Crusade suggested to, 362 ; 
French alliance, 98 w., 110, 
119 ; Holy League, 125, 128, 
135, 204; Juana's affliction 
exaggerated, 351-2, 426 ; 
League of Cambrai, 367 ; 
marriage negotiations for 
Katherine of Aragon, 79-83, 
89-91, 102, 119, 135, 199, 201, 
204-7, 217-9, 231-2, 328-35, 
350, 354, 356-8, 369-70; 
Milanese policy, 229 ; per- 
sonal appearance, 337-8 ; 
position after Isabella's deatb, 
334-5, 337; Eoussillon at- 
tacked, 96 ; Eoussillon and 
Cerdagne recovered, 110; 
second marriage, 341-2 ; 
Warbeck in relation to, 128, 
152, 205, 207 

Fernandez, Diego, 358^61 

Ferrara, 314 

Ferrers, Lord, 22, 49 

Finance, account of, 269-82 ; 
benevolences,see Benevolences; 
commercial policy in relation 
to, 162-3, 189-92; crown 
lands, see Crown lands ; cus- 
toms, see Customs ; fines for 
Warbeck rebellion, 158 ; 
French tribute, 109 ; grant 



by council of 1497, 146 ; Irish, 
300-3; loans, 146-7, 275; 
Parliamentary grants, 46, 68, 
86-9, 97, 102, 147; purvey- 
ance, 47, 280; tonnage and 
poundage, 46, 272 ; treasure, 
189-90 

Fines (amercements), 277-8 

Fines, statute of, 260 

Fisher, John, Bp. of Eochester, 
see Rochester ; , 435 

Fisheries,' 167, 187, 320-2 

Fitzgerald, Jas., 289 ; Thomas, 
63, 65, 292 

Fitzwalter, Lord, 123, 377 

Fitz William, Sir Thomas, 253 

Flammock, Thos., 147, 150 

Flanders, 72-3, 78, 92-3, 98, 
105, 118, 127, 353; trade 
with, 118, 165-8, 170, 173, 
184 

Flint Castle, 270 

Florence, 126 ; trade with, 178 

Fcedera (Rymer's), see Eymer's 
Foedera 

Foix, Germaine de, see Germaine, 
Queen of Spain 

Fontarabia, 94 

Foreign affairs, 27, 70-111, 117- 
21, 125-30, 134-42, 196-239, 
326-70 

Forests, 37, 256-7 

Forgery, 262 

Fortescue, , 435 

Fowlers, 414 

Fox, Eichard, Bp. of Exeter, see 
Exeter ; Bp. of Durham, see 
Durham 

France, 72-7, 81-5, 90-111, 119, 
121, 125-7, 136^1, 202-4, 
218, 341, 363, 366-9 ; trade 
with, 180-1 

Franciscans, 391 n. 

Frankfort, treaty of, 94, 98 

Frederick III., Emperor, 120 

Frefolb, 417 

Froude, James Anthony, 435 



INDEX 



448 



Frutze, Benedict, 38 w. 

Fuensalida, , see Membrilla 

Fulham, 412 
Fyneux, John, 44 

Gairdnbr, Dr., 434r-5 
Gascony, 84 ; trade with, 164 
Gasquet, Dom, 435 
Gaunt, John of, see John of 

Gaunt 
Geraldines, 289, 291-2, 296, 298, 

301 
Germaine (de Foix), Queen of 

Spain, 341-2 
German mercenaries, 63-4, 284 
Germany, trade with, 171-2, 

174-6 
GigU, Giovanni (John), Bp. of 

Worcester, see Worcester ; 

Silvestro, 312 
Gilds, 188-9, 262, 435 
Glastonbury, 416 
Gloucester, 56, 411, 414 

, Humphrey, Duke of, 306 

Gold, export of, 190 

Gordon, Lady Katherine, 132-3, 

152, 158-9 
Gormaston, Lord, 297 
Granada, 100, 103 
Greek, 306 
Greenwich, 57, 68, 283, 366, 

411-9 
Grey Fria/rs' Chronicle, 433 
Griffith, Richard, 16 
Grocyn, William, 306 
Gross, Charles, 435 
Grossaert (Mabuse), Jan, 314 
Qrowih of English Industry and 

Commerce, 435 
Gueldres, Gelderland, Duke 

Charles of, 169, 326-7, 342, 

347, 349, 364, 366-7 
Guienne, duchy of, 41-2, 82, 90, 

92, 95 n., 109, 232, 329 ; trade 

with, 164 
Guildford, 40, 149, 411, 415, 

418 



Guildford, Sir Richard, 36, 43, 

391 n., 434 
Guingamp, 91 
Guisnes, 93, 228 
Gunpowder, 385 

Hall's Chronicle, 433 

Halsted, C. A., 435 

Hammes, 12, 93 

Hansard merchants, 171-6, 325 

Harborough, 413 

Hardwicke Papers, 434 

Harfleur, 13, 15 

Harington, Jaa., 68 ; Thos., 68 

Harlech Castle, 2-3 

Harling, East, 412 

Harris, Walter, 434 

Harrowden, 416 

Hasely, , Dean of Warwick, 

see Warwick 

Hatfield, 417, 419 

Hattcliffe, William, 300, 432 

Hatten, 326 

Haverfordwest, 16 

Havering, 416 

Hayes, John, 113, 115 

Haytesbury, 415 

Hedingham, Castle, 416 

Hemson, Richard, 44 

Henry VI., 3, 47, 392 

Henry VIL, arms, 2 n., 34 n., 
41 ; attainder, 48 ; beginning 
of reign, date, 48-9 ; biblio- 
graphy, 431-5 ; in Brittany, 
4-11; character, 32-3, 376- 
403 ; children, see Arthur, 
Prince of Wales, Edmund, 
Prince, Henry, Prince of 
Wales, Margaret, Queen of 
Scotland, Mary, Princess ; 
commercial policy, 161-95 ; 
conspiracy to make king and 
revolt in favour of, 4-22 ; 
coronation, 40-2 ; death, 370 ; 
descent, 2, 28-9 ; financial 
policy, 269-81 ; foreign policy, 
70-111, 117-21, 125-30, 134- 



444 



INDEX 



42, 196-209, 217-39, 326-70 ; 
funeral, 371-3 ; illness, 352, 
365 ; importance of reign, 
374^6, 404^7 ; itinerary, 
411-9 ; legislation, 256-69 ; 
marriage, 4-5, 7, 9, 14, 31, 35, 
60-2, 386-8 ; marriage (2nd) 
schemes, 328, 332, 335-7, 339, 
351-5 ; personal appearance, 
403-4 ; personal influence, 
285-8 ; plot to seize, 54 n. ; 
political ideals, 240-56 ; 
renaissance encouraged, 312- 
5 ; seer consulted, 210 ; title 
to the throne, 1, 28-31, 46-7 ; 
tomb, 313-4, 373, 392; wHl, 
370-1, 433 

Henry VII. (Gairdner), 434 

Henry (VIII.), Prince of Wales, 
Duke of York, birth and title, 
122, 413, 415 ; character, 231, 
389 ; created Prince of Wales, 
231 ; education, 313, 331 ; 
Golden Fleece conferred on, 
345 ; Lord - Lieutenant of 
Ireland, 297 ; marriage 
schemes, 228, 232, 333, 338-9, 
354, 356, 367, 370; personal 
appearance, 353, 389 

Henry Grace d Dieu, man-of 
war, see Regent, The 

Herbert, Edward, Lord, 434 ; 
William, Lord, 3 ; Sir Chas. 
Somerset, Lord, 44^ 76, 227, 
339 ra. 

Herbert, Maud, 3 ; Sir Walter, 14 

Hereford, 56 

Heresy, 311 

Herough, Peter, 416 

Hertford, 88, 416 ; Castle, 413 

Hevingham Castle, 412 

Hihernica, 434 

Hides, subsidy on, 46 

High treason, 54 

Historix Anglicx Libri, see Libri 
Anglicm Historice 

Holt Castle, 415 



Holy League (1495), 125, 127, 

129, 135-42, 202, 204 
Horses, 187 
Horsham, 413 
Horsham, New, 274 n. 
Hounslow Heath, 149 
Household, royal, 38, 47, 280, 

380-1 
Howard, Sir Edw., 372 ; Thos., 

Earl of Surrey, see Surrey 
Howth, Book of, 432 
Howth, Lord of, 63, 66, 296-7 
Hubert, James, 44 
Hudson, WiUiam, 435 
Hume, Lord, 145 
Hungary, 100, 103 
Hungerford, Sir Walter, 19 
Hunsdon, manor, 125 
Hunting, 37-8, 256-7 
Huntingdon, 53, 62, 412, 416 
Hussey, Dr., Archd. of London, 

see London 
Hutton, , 7 ; . 434 

Iceland, trade with, 173 

Imola, James, Bp. of, 51 

Imst in the Tyrol, 227 

India, new route to, 319 

Industry, 182-95 

Informers, 255, 278, 286-7 

Inglefield, Thomas, 253 

Innes, A. D., 435 

Innocent VIII., Pope, 259 

Inquisition, Spanish, 78 

Intercursus Magnus, 167 n. 

Ireland, 27, 289-305, 432; 
finance, 300 ; judges, 299 ; 
Lord-Deputy, 290 ; Lord- 
Lieutenant, 290 ; Parliament, 
291, 298-9, 304; Simnel's 
rebellion, 58, 62-3, 66, 292; 
Viceroy, see above, Lord- 
Lieutenant ; Warbeck re- 
bellion, 112-3, 128, 130-1, 
155-6, 298, 303-4 

Ireland v/nder the Tudors, 435 

Isabella (of Castile), Queen of 



INDEX 



445 



Spain, character, 71 ; death, 
333-4 ; marriage negotiations 
for Katharine of Aragon, 79- 
80, 89-91, 205-7, 221, 232, 
327-30 ; Suffolk's surrender 
desired, 234; Warbeck in 
relation to, 120, 128, 152, 422 

Isleworth, 414 

Italian influence in England, 
see Renaissance 

Italian Relation, 433 

Italy, 125-6, 140-1, 229, 366, 
368 ; trade with, 164, 177-9 

Ives, John, 435 

James IV., King of Scotland, 
Desmond's alleged relations 
with, 298 ; invasions of Eng- 
land hj, 38, 142-4, 152-^; 
league with Henry VII. and 
Maximilian, alleged, 341 ; 
marriage, 134, 140, 145, 225-6, 
236-7, 364; unfriendly to 
England (1508), 363^; War- 
beck supported by, 115, 127, 
131-2, 134^5, 142-5 
Jesters, 383-4 

Joan, -Infanta of Spain, see 
Juana (of Spain), Queen of 
Castile. 
John of Gaunt, 2, 28 
Joseph, Michael, 147, 150 
Juan, Infante of Spain, 96 
Juana (of Spain) Queen of 
Castile, 137, 206, 334, 337, 
341, 343, 345 n., 348-52, 354, 
426-30 
Julius II,, Pope, 330, 353, 361-3, 

367-9 
Jury system, 266 
Justices of the peace, 265 

Kathbbinb of Aragon, 79-82, 
89-91, 99 71., 102, 204-9, 211-2, 
216-25, 232-3, 327-35, 338- 
41, 344, 350, 356-61, 370, 
388 n., 389, 417 n., 428-9 



Katherine (of Prance), Queen of 

England, 2 
Kenilworth, 63, 412-3; Castle, 

412, 415 
Kent, Earl of, 148, 214 
Kent, rising in (1483), 8 ; War- 
beck invasion, 127-8 
Kidwelly, Morgan, see Morgan 

(of Kidwelly), John 
Kildare, Earl of, 58, 112, 115, 

130, 155-6, 291-9, 301-5; 

Countess of, 303 
Kilkenny, statutes of, 299 
King Harry's Hill (Market 

Bosworth), 22 
King's Bark, ship, 282 n. 
Kingston, 149, 416 
Kingswood, 414 
Kinsale, 156, 293 
Kneysworth, Thomas, 278 
Knighthood, 272 
Knoctoe, battle of (1504), 304-5 
Knole, 413, 415-6, 418 
Knowsley, 415 
Knyvet, Sir Thos., 416 n. 

Labour, 193-5 

Labrador, 320 

Lambeth, 150, 414, 416, 418 

Lancaster, 285 

Lancaster, duchy of, 47 

Lancaster, John of Gaunt, Duke 

of, see John of Gaunt 
Land, title to, 260 
Landois, Pierre, 11-2 
Langley, 415-9 
Langley, Prior of, 123 
Lanthony Abbey, 417, 419 
Latham, 415 
Latimer, Hugh, 306 
Lee, Richard, 414 
Legislation, 256-69 
Leicester, 18-9, 33, 64, 73, 254, 

286, 412-3; abbey, 412; 

records, 432-3 
Leigh, 415 
Leland's Collectanea, 433 



446 



INDEX 



Leopards, 384 . 

Letter Books of London, 432 

Letters and Papers of Henry VII., 
432, 434 

Lewes, 413, 418 

Lewis, , 6 

Libri Anglicce Historim XXVII. , 
312 433 

Lichfield, 18-9, 415 

Ufe of Henry VIL (Bacon), 434 

Life of Henry VII. (Herbert), 
434 

Life of Margaret Beaufort, 435 

LUy, William, 306, 307 n. 

Limerick Castle, 297 

Linacre, Thomas, 306 

Lincoln, 53, 67, 97 n., 274 n., 411 

Lincoln, Bishop of, 306 

Lincoln, John de la Pole, Earl 
of, 61-5, 67, 211 n. 

Lions, 384 

Livery, 49, 246, 261, 267, 299 

Lloyd, Thomas, 319 

Loans, 146-7, 275 

LoUardry, 311 

London, 34, 56, 67, 411-2, 414, 
416-8 ; Baynard's Castle, see 
Baynard's Castle ; Cornish 
advance on, 149-50 ; crime in 
27 ; description of, 379 n. ; 
Katherine of Aragon's entry, 
222-3 ; loans, 51, 146-7 ; new 
privileges (1478), 275 ; panic 
in (1487), 66 ; plague, 194-5 ; 
riot (1493), 119, 173; St. 
Paul's Cathedral, 372, 379, 
415-8 ; St. Paul's Sch., 307 w. ; 
sheriff's election interfered 
with, 286 ; sweating sickness, 
194; Tower, 33, 36, 235-6, 
271, 284, 379, 384, 412, 414-9 ; 
trade, 119, 168 173, ; Warbeck 
in, 158-9 

London, Dr. Hussey, Archd. of, 
123 

London, Bp. of, 34^5, 309 

Londono, , 208 



Lords, House of, 252-3 

Loughborough, 64, 415 

Louis XII., King of France 
(Duke of Orleans), accession, 
203; in Brittany, 72-3, 75, 
82 ; English policy, 203, 210, 
234, 339 ; Italian schemes, 
229, 366-7, 369 ; niece married 
to King of Spain, 341 ; taken 
prisoner, 77 

Louise of Savoy, 339 

Lovell, Francis, Lord, 22, 41 n., 
49, 53-5, 59, 61-3, 65 

Lovell, Minster, 65 n., 414, 416, 
418 

Lovell, Thos., 36, 43, 45, 253 

Ludlow Castle, 220, 226, 230, 415 

Lynn, 416 

Mabusb, Jan, see Grossaert 

Maidstone, 412-7 

Maintenance, 50, 246, 261, 267, 
299 

Maitland, Frederick, 435 

Mailing Abbey, 411 

Malmesbury Abbey, 310, 415-6 

Malshanger, 418 

Manchester, 415 

Manuel, Dona Elvira, 220 «., 
331—2 

, Don, 169, 341 

Marcoussis, treaty of, 204 

Margaret of AngoulSme, 333, 
339, 349 

Margaret, Dowager Duchess of 
Burgundy, 58-9, 63, 116-9, 
125, 127, 187 n., 204 n. 

Margaret (Beaufort), Countess of 
Richmond and Derby, mother 
of Henry VIL, 1-6, 10, 17, 29, 
42, 47, 63, 67, 69, 223, 306, 
386, 388-9, 435 

Margaret, Oountess of Bickmond, 
435 

Margaret (of Austria), Duchess 
of Savoy, 170, 206, 209, 218, 
333, 340, 342, 345-55, 365 367 



INDEX 



447 



Margaret (Tudor), Queen of 
Scotland, christening, 413 n. ; 
marriage, 134, 140, 145, 225- 
6, 236-7 ; presents prizes at 
tournament, 122 

Mwrgcuret, ship, 282 n. 

Marlborough, 414 

Marney, Henry, 44 

Marriages, 272 

Martyn Abbey, 417 

Mary (Tudor), Princess, 333, 
344, 353, 355, 365-6 

Mary Fortune, ship, 282 n. 

Maximilian, King of the 
Romans, Antwerp treaty, 
227, 233-5 ; Breton policy, 
73, 94, 97-100, 103 ; character, 
71-2 ; commercial policy, 166 
-7, 233 ; deserted by Henry 
VII., 109-11 ; English alliance 
(1489), 83, 85 ; Flemish diffi- 
culties, 73, 78, 105, 107; 
French alliance (1489), 93-4, 
98 ; French alliance (1508) and 
League of Cambrai, 364-9 ; 
French war (1498), 202-4 ; 
Garter conferred on, 99, 234-5, 
•418 «. ; Holy League, 125, 137 
-9 ; marriage scheme for 
Margaret of Savoy, 338, 340, 
346-7, 349, 353-5; SuflFolk 
protected, 175, 226-8, 233-5, 
326 ; Turkish war scheme, 
227-9, 233; Warbeck sup- 
ported, 116-21, 124, 126-7, 
129, 137-9 

Mayfield (Staffs.), 416 

Mayfleld (Sussex), 414 

Meath, Bp. of, 301-2 

Medieval and Modem History 
(Stubbs), 435 

Medina del Campo, treaty of, 89- 
91, 99-100, 102, 119, 129, 181 

Membrilla, Fuensalida gover- 
nor of, 219, 357-61 

Memorials of Hen. VII., 431, 434 

Meno, Pregent, 114, 118 n. 



Mercantile system, 161-5 
Mercenaries, 63-4, 284 
Merchant Adventurers, 173, 184- 

5,262 
"Merchant of the Ruby," 117 
Merchants of the Staple, see 

Staple 
Meredith, John ap, 17 
Merivale Abbey, 19, 418 
Merton Abbey, 415 
Middle classes, 244-5, 248, 406 
Milan, 99, 105, 125-6, 138, 196, 

229, 314, 353 n. 
Mile End, 417 

Milford (near Christchurch), 16 
Milford Haven, 16 
Militia, 284 

Minster Lovell,see Lovell,Minater 
Mohun, Lord, 44 
Molinet, Jean, 435 
Monasteries, 309-10, 391 
Moncontour, 92 
Money, see Currency 
Montford, Sir Simon, 123 
Montgomery, 416 
Month's Mind of the Lady Ma/r- 

garet, 434 
Moor, 411 

Moor Place (Surrey), 414 
Mordaunt, John, 67, 253 
More, Sir Thos., 272; Utopia, 

434 
Morgan (of Kidwelly), John, 

15-6, 44 
Morlaix, 87, 98, 106 n. 
Morley, Lord, 92-3 
Mortlake, 419 
Morton, John, Bp. of Ely, see 

Canterbury, John Morton, 

Archbp. of 
Morton's Dyke, 238 n. 
Morton's Fork, 238, 276 
MuUinger, J. B., 435 
Murder, 26, 257 

Namur, 343 

Nanfan, Richard, 44, 83, 91 



448 



INDEX 



Nantes, 73, 75, 100 

Naples, 107, 125-6, 138, 229, 

366; Queen of, 328, 332, 335- 

7, 339 71., 432 
Naval Accounts, 432 
Navigation laws, 164-5, 178-9, 

181-2 
Navy, 163, 282-3 ; bibliograpliy, 

435 
Netherlands, trade with, 166- 

71, 173, 179, 184 
Netley Abbey, 416 
Nevill, Lord, 377 
Nevill, family, 412 n. 
Newark, 53, 64, 412 

WiUiam, 384 

Newcastle, 67, 415 

Newcastle-on-Tyne, 412 

New Forest, 56, 383 

Newfoundland, 322-3 

Newport, 18 

Nichols, J. G., 435 

Nieuport, 93 

Nobility, 24-5, 50, 245-9, 252-3 

Nordlingen, 137-8 

Norfolk, Duke of, 18-9, 22, 49 ; 

Duchess of, 222 
Norham Castle, 153 
Normandy, duchy of, 41-2, 82, 

84, 90, 95 n., 109, 232, 329 
Northampton, 62, 413-6 
Northumberland, Earl of (d. 
1489), 14, 18, 22, 54, 66, 87- 
8, 89 n., 214, 278 n. 
Northumberland, Duke of, 246 
North- West Passage, 318-9 
Norwich, 62, 311, 412-3, 416; 

bishopric, 310 
Notley, 415, 417 
Nottingham, 18, 53, 55, 64, 89, 
411-3 ; Castle, 418 

Ody, William, 44 
Oppenheim, Michael, 432 
Origin of Commerce, 435 
Orleans, Louis, Duke of, see 
Louis XII., King of France 



Ormond, Sir Jas., 155, 291, 295- 

6, 301, 304 

Ormond, Thos. Butler, Earl of, 

44, 63, 291, 295-7 
Osbeck, John, see Warbeck, John 
Ostend, 93 
Otford, 418 
Outlaws, 26 
Oxford, 67, 306, 414 
Oxford, Earl of, 12-3, 21, 36, 40, 

43, 62, 64, 105, 150, 214, 246- 

7, 416 n. 

Oxforrd Reformers, 435 

Pale, the English (Ireland), 
289, 299, 304 

Paris, 12 

Parliament, bibliography, 432 ; 
general character, 25, 37, 251- 
6, 281-2, 406; grants, 273-4, 
276 ; legislation, 256-69 ; 
first, 35, 45-50, 411 ; second, 
67-8, 412 ; third, 85-7, 96-7, 
101, 413-4; fourth, 414; 
fifth (obedient), 133-4, 255, 
264^5, 271, 415; sixth, 147, 
416 ; seventh, 325-6, 418 

Parliament, Irish, see Ireland, 
Parliament 

Paston, Sir John, 65 

Paston Letters, 433 

Patrick, , 209-10 

Peche, the fool, 383 

Pembroke, 16 ; Castle, 1-2 

Pembroke, Jasper Tudor, Earl 
of, 1-3,11,21 ; Will. Herbert, 
Earl of, see Herbert, William, 
Lord. 

Perjury, 262, 265 

Perhin Warbeck, Story of 
(Gairdner), 434 

Perth, 132 

Peterborough, 411 

Philip, Archduke (Duke of Bur- 
gundy, King of Castile), Bur- 
gundy ruled in right of, 73 ; 
Castilian claims, 334-5, 342, 



INDEX 



449 



348-9, 427; children, see 
Charles, Archduke, Eleanor; 
commercial policy,140,169-70, 
327; corpse carried about, 429 ; 
death, 349 ; embassy to (1488), 
83 n.; in England, 343-8, 
418 ii., 432 ; interview with 
Henry VII. (1600), 218; mar- 
riage, 137 ; peace with Prance, 
204; Suffolk in relation to, 
340, U2, 347 ; understanding 
between Maximilian and 
Henry VII. opposed, 227 ; 
Warbeck supported, 116-9 

Pilgrvmage of Sir Richard Guyld- 
ford, 434 

Pinkerton, John, 434 

Pirates, 27, 165, 167, 172, 180 

Pisa, 178 

Pius III., Pope, 330 

Plague, 194-5 

Plumpton, Sir Eobert, 278 

Plumpton Correspondence, 434 

Plunkett, Alex., 295 

Plymouth, 8, 222 

Pole, Edm. de la. Earl of Suf- 
folk, see Suffolk ; John de la, 
Earl of Lincoln, see Lincoln ; 
Rich, de la, 228, 326 ; Will, 
de la, 228 

Pollard, A. F,, 435 

Pontefract, 54, 412-3; Castle, 
412 

Poole, 8, 415 

Pope, Papacy, 96, 104-5, 125, 
127, 140-1, 258-9, 353, 361-3, 
367-9 

Porchester, 415, 417 

Portland, 344 

Portsmouth, 104-5 ; dry dock, 
283 

Portugal, 83-4, 99, 339 

Poundage, see Tonnage and 
poundage 

Poynings, Sir Edw., 9, 12, 43, 
105, 130, 297-8, 300 

Poynings' Acts, 298 



Poyntz, Robert, 44 
Prices, regulation of, 193 
Printing, 313, 317 
Privy Council, 425 
Privy Purse Expenses, 432 
Puebla, Roderigo de, 79-80, 82, 
144, 152, 199-201, 203, 207, 
209, 212, 217-20, 327, 332-3, 
340, 350, 357, 427 
Purveyance, 47, 280 

Q0ARR Abbey, 417 

Rabt, 412-3 

Ramme, Thomas, 6 

Ratcliff(e), John, 123; Sir Rich., 

22 ; Robert, 123 
Reading, 414, 416, 418 
Redon, 100, 102 
Reeves, John, 435 
Regent, The, man-of-war, 282 
Register of Bishop Fox, 432 
ReKefs, 272 

Renaissance, the, 249, 305-17 
Rennes, 9, 102-3 
Requests, Court of, 267-8 
Retainer, 261-2, 267 
Revenue, see Finance 
Rhodes, Knights of, 361 
Ricart's Galenda/r of Bristol, 433 
Richard III, 4, 7-11, 14-21, 33, 

36, 48-9, 51, 61, 114, 377 
Richard, Duke of York, see 

York 
Richmond, 224, 226 n., 338, 360, 

370, 417-9 ; palace, 314, 389, 

417 n. 
Richmond (co. York), 412 

, Edm. Tudor, Earl of, 1-2 

, Henry Tudor, Earl of, see 

Henry VII. 
, Margaret, Countess of, see 

Margaret (Beaufort), Countess 

of Richmond and Derby 

, honour of, 2, 10-1, 47 

Richmond Herald, 121, 126, 

431 

2 F 



450 



INDEX 



Kieux, Marshal de, 77, 92, 94, 

97 
Biga, trade with, 174-5 
Rioting, 50, 261-2, 265 
Eipon, 412 

Rialey, Sir John, 44 n. 
Bochester, 412, 414, 416 
, John Fisher, Bishop of, 

372, 399, 434 
Rockingham, 415 ; Castle, 412 
Rogers, Thorold, 435 
Boses, Wars of the, 23-7 
Rouen, 13 
Eoussillon, 80-3, 90, 96, 99 b., 

110, 329 
Royaton, 411 
Rutland Papers, 433 
Rymer's Fcsdera, 431 

St. Albans, 413, 417 ; Abbey, 

309-10, 412 
St. Aubin, battle of, 77 
St. George's-in-the-Fields, 149, 

416 
St. John, Elizabeth, see Kil- 

dare. Countess of 
St. John of Jerusalem, Prior of, 

214 
St. Mary Cray, 414 
St. Michael's Mount, 158 
St. Osyth, Abbots of, 417 n. 
Salisbury, 148, 311, 411, 414-5 
Salisbury, Bishop of, 9, 36 re. 
Saltwood, 414 

Sanctuary, 26, 54-5, 66, 258-9 
Sandwich, 412, 414 ; mayor, 127 
Savage, Sir John, 15-6, 21, 109, 

338 ; Thomas, 79, 83, 91 
Savoy, Margaret, Duchess of, 

see Margaret 
Savoy Hospital, 392 
Saxony, Duke of, 326 
Say, William, 44 ; Sir Will., 285 
Scarborough, 125, 173 
Scofield, C. L., 435 
Scot, the fool, 383 
Scotland, 38-9, 67, 127, 131-7, 



139, 142-6, 152-5, 225-6, 353, 
363-4, 432, 434 

Scotus, Andreas, 2 

Seebohm, Frederick, 435 

Select Gases in the Gowrt of Be- 
quests, 432 

Selling, William, 306 

Shaftesbury, 414 

Shaunde, Philibert de, Earl of 
Bath, see Bath 

Sheen, 56, 59, 106, 158, 208, 
411-7; Palace, 314-5; prior 
of, 310 

Sheppy Island, 331, 418 

Sherbourne, Robert, 141 n. 

Sheriffs, 265 

Sheriff's Button Castle, 33 

Ship of Fools, 4:34: 

Shipping, 162-5, 283 

Shoreham, New, 97 n. 

Shrewsbury, 18, 415 

, Earl of, 44 

Silk trade, 177, 185 

Simnel, Lambert, 58-66, 292, 
296 

Sittingbourne, 414, 416 

Skelton, John, 313 

Slindon, 413 

Sluys, 105, 283 

Smithfield, burning at, 311 

Somerset, Duke of, 2 

Somerset, Sir Chas., Lord Her- 
bert, see Herbert 

Somersham, 41 1 

Song of the Lady Bessy, The, 434 

Sonning, 413 

Southampton, 412, 415, 417 

Southampton metal staple, 190 

Southwark, 411 

Sovereign, man-of-war, 282-3 

Spain, 71, 78-84, 89-91, 94, 96, 
99-100, 102, 110-1, 119-20, 
125-6, 129, 135-7, 140-1, 152, 
156, 165, 181-2, 198-201, 204- 
9,. 318-9, 321, 333-5, 340-1, 
348, 366, 369-70; see also 
Ferdinand, Isabella 



INDEX 



451 



Speed, John, 434 
Speen, 418 
Spice Islands, 322 
Spies, 287, 300, 393 
Stafford, 18, 415 
Stafford, Edw., Duke of Buck- 
ingham, see Buckingham ; 
Henry, Duke of Buckingham, 
see Buckingham ; Henry, 2, 4 ; 
Humphrey, 22, 53-5 ; Thomas, 
22,53-5 
Staines, 419 
Stamford, 53, 411-2 
Stanley, Sir Humphrey, 150 ; 
Sir WiUiam, 17-9, 21, 35 /i., 
43, 124 
Stanley, Thos. Stanley, Lord, 
see Derby, Thos. Stanley, Earl 
of 
Staple, merchants of the, 166, 

168, 262 
Ster Chamber, 260-7, 423-5 
Sta/r Clmmber (Hudson, Scofield), 

435 
Star Chamber Oases, 432 
Starkey, Thomas, 434 
Stile, John, 316, 335, 369, 429 
Stirling, 132 
Stoke (nr. Newark) ; battle 

(1487), 64-5, 394, 412 
Stoughton, William, 36 
Stow's Chronicle, 433 
Strange, Geo. Stanley, Lord, 

17 n., 18, 43, 246 
Stratford, 419 
Stubbs, Dr., 435 
Suffolk, Edm. de la Pole, Earl 
of, 169, 175-6, 211, 226-8, 
231, 233-5, 317 n., 325-7, 
339-43, 346-7, 363, 415 n. 

, John de la Pole, Duke of, 

68, 211 n. 
Surrey, Thos. Howard, Earl of, 
18, 22, 44, 49, 66, 88-9. 149, 
153-4, 214, 247 
Swart (Schwartz), Martin, 63, 
65 



Sweating sickness, 39-40, 194 
SweepstMe, ship, 282 n. 
Swynford, Katherine, 2, 28 
Symons, Richard, 58, 65 
Syon Abbey, 414 

Talbot, Sir Gilbert, 17, 21, 33, 
44, 117 

Tame (Thame), 413 

Tam worth, 19 

Taunton, 156-7, 416 

Taxation, 273-4 

Taylor, Jas., 214; John, 113, 
115 

Tewkesbury, 3, 413, 415 

Thirsk, fight near, 88 

Thistle arid the Rose, 434 

Thomas, Sir Rhys ap, 15, 16 n., 
33, 35 n., 157; Richard ap, 
44 

Throgmorton, Robert, 44 

Thwaites, Sir Thos., 123 

Tiverton, 416 

Tonnage and poundage, 46, 272 

Torregiano, Pietro, 313 

Torture, 264 

Touchet, Jas., Lord Audley, 
see Audley 

Tournaments, 106, 382 

Trade, see Commerce, and In- 
dustry 

Tree of the Commonwealth, 277, 
434 

Trevelyan Papers, 433 

Trim, 293 

Trivisano, Andrea, 196 

Troys, Thomas, 44 

Tudor, Arthur, see Arthur, 
Prince of Wales ; Edmund, 
see Richmond, Edmund, Earl 
of, and Edmund, Prince ; 
Henry, see Henry VII. and 
Henry (VIII.), Prince of 
Wales ; Jasper, see Pembroke, 
Jasper, Earl of ; Margaret, see 
Margaret, Countess of Rich- 
mond and Derby, and Mar- 



452 



INDEX 



garet, Queen of Scotland ; 

Mary, see Mary; arms, 41, 385 ; 

colours, 34 n. 
Tunstall, Sir Richard, 43, 88 
Turks, 227, 229-30, 233, 274 n., 

361-3 
Tutbury, 418 

Twelve Tudor Statesmen, 435 
Tyrell, Sir Jas., 228; Thos., 

44 

Udal, William, 44 
University of Cambridge, 435 
Urbino, 314 
Urswick, Chris., 9, 11, 22 n., 

35 n., 74^, 78, 84, 138-9 
Usury, 192, 262 
Utofda, 434 
Uxbridge, 414 

Vagrants, 265-6 

Vale Royal Abbey, 415 

Vannes, 11-2 

Vannes, Ammonio, 312 ; Pet., 

312 
Vaux, Sir Nicholas, 380, 416 n. 
Venice, 107, 125, 138, 196-7, 
314, 366-9 ; trade with, 165, 
177-9 
Vergil, Polydor, Archd. of 

Wells, see Wells 
VignoUes, Bernard de, 123 
Visitation of Norwich, 432 
Visitation of Southwell, 432 
Vita Henrici Septimi, 433 
Voyages of discovery, see Dis- 
covery, voyages of 

Wages, regulation of, 193 

Wales, 17-8, 80, 204 

, Arthur, Prince of, see 

Arthur; Edward, Prince of, 

see Edward; Henry, Prince 

of, see Henry 
WalUngford, 416 
Walsingham, 62, 412, 416; 

priory, 310 



Walter, alias Attwater, John, 
115, 131, 155-6, 214 

Waltham, 383 

Waltham, Bishops', 415, 417 

Wandsworth, 419 

Wanstead, 416-9 

Warbeck, John, 114; Perkin, 
112-60, 208, 212-5, 298, 300-1, 
305, 420-2 

Ward, Thomas, 213 

Wardships, 272, 276 

Ware, 411 

Ware, , 435 

Warham, Will., Archbp. of Can- 
terbury, see Canterbury 

Warrington, 415 

Warwick, 412, 414 

, Edw., Earl of, 30-1, 33-4, 

57-66, 112,209,212-7 

, Richard Nevil, Earl of, 25 

Hasely, Dean of, 2 

Waterford, 63, 130-1, 156, 
292-3, 300, 303 

Waterford, History of, 435 

Weights and measures, 191-2 

Wells, 148, 414, 416 

, Polydor Vergil, Archd. 

of, 312, 433 

Wells, John, Lord, 9 

West, Nicholas, 234 

Westminster, 411-9 ; alms- 
houses, 392 n. 

Westminster Abbey, altar at 
Henry VII.'s tomb, 392; 
chantry priests, 391 n. ; coro- 
nation of Henry VII., 40-2 ; 
coronation of Eliz. of York, 
69 ; funeral of Eliz. of York, 
236 ; funeral of Henry VII., 
372-3 ; Henry VII.'s Chapel, 
238 n., 315, 371 

Westminster Hall, 124, 224 

White Moors, 19 

Whitsand Bay, 156 

Wight, Isle of, 76, 413, 417 

Wilford, Ralph, 209-10 

Wilkins', , 432 



INDEX 



458 



Willoughby, Sir Richard, 33 
Willoughby de Broke, Lord, 

43, 91, 98, 153, 157 
Winchcombe, 414 
Winchester, 56-7, 148, 385, 411, 

417, 419 

, Bp. of, 306, 338, 418 n. 

Windsor, 141, 146, 383, 411-9 ; 

Castle, 271, 344 ; Forest, 89, 

413 m.; St. George's Chapel, 

238 n., 315, 392 
Wine, trade in, 164, 177-9 
Wingfield, John, 44, 316, 367 
Woad, trade in, 164 
Woking, 413, 418-9 ; manor of, 

413 
WoUaston, 415 
Wolsey, Thomas, 364-5 
Woodstock, 149, 206, 353, 383, 

413-9 ; manor of, 412-3 
Woodville, Sir Edw., 9, 12, 76-7 
Wool trade, 46, 165-8, 177-9, 

182-3, 186, 434 
Worcester, 54-5, 231, 411, 415 
Worcester, Giovanni (John), 

Gigli, Bp. of, 85, 104, 220, 

312 



Worde, Wynkyn de, 317 
Worsely, William, Dean of St. 

Paul's, 123 
Wyatt, Henry, 44 
Wycombe, 414-5 
Wyndham, Sir John, 228 

Yarmodth, Gt., 97 n., 274 n. 

Year Books of Henry VII., 432 

Yeoman of the Guard, 42, 284 

York, 29, 38, 52-5, 67, 87-8, 286, 
371, 392 «., 411-3 

, Cecily, Duchess of, 47 ; 

Henry, Duke of, see Henry 
(VIII.), Prince of Wales; 
Richard, Duke of (father of 
Edw. IV.), 291; Richard, 
Duke of (son of Edw. IV.), 58, 
114, 116-7, 121, 422 ; see also 
Simnel, Warbeck 

York Records, 432 

Yorkshire, risings in, 53-4, 87-8, 
274 

ZoucHB, Lord, 49 
Zurita, Geronimo, 434 



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